A 12% Tax Increase Of No Benefit

The proposed Okaloosa County Budget includes an approximately 12.3% increase in the millage rate on all property in the county, which will raise the property tax on a taxable $200,000 residence (after homestead exemption) by about $67 and raise $5.2 million in revenue.

The shortfall being covered is due to increases in county spending in a few key areas.  Three of them, totaling more than twice the revenue increase ($12 million) are found in road construction, water and sewer (including a hinky deal in the form of a “loan” from 2012 for $3.6 million) and solid waste/recycling.

Then there is $3.34 million in increase spending plus drawing down of $2m in reserves toward increased spending on the promotion of tourism. Absent that spending no millage increase would be required.

The promotion of tourism is a great idea however it should generate enough additional bed and associated business tax revenue through increased tourism to be entirely self-supporting.  If it does not then it is a waste of money as it does not bring sufficient economic benefit to the community to cover the expense.

Our County Commission is clearly out of control.  A 12% increase in millage is unconscionable, given these figures, and will materially dampen economic activity by destroying personal economic surplus.

Remember too that the entire $5.2 million they wish to tax from you is money you can’t spend at local merchants yourself.

You’ll need a lot more tourists to replace that.

Karl Denninger

Light A Candle

Have you ever noticed how, when things are gloomy, most people complain about the darkness, only a rare few light a candle?  For everyday problems that affect us, half of us only complain, 40% want government to do something, but only the rare 10% propose something that can be constructive.

I was dismayed to read a promotional letter for the misleading “Marketplace Fairness Act” bill [“Level the Field”, June 30] by a Destin Chamber leader.

That was a “40% letter” asking the federal government to use oppressive force to take sales tax dollars from everyone shopping on-line.  Somehow, it is “more fair” to use force than persuasion.

In economic times like these the creative genius of the American spirit lays the foundation for economic growth, for example:  new businesses are formed; and new marketing approaches developed.

Since you are a Destin business leader, may I suggest a 10% solution befitting your position?  Provide all your members with the expertise needed for an effective on-line presence.  Create a larger economic pie and stop complaining about the current smaller one. 

If that seems too daunting a task, then perhaps you can start workshops for us consumers to instruct us in:  our obligations to pay sales taxes on everything we buy; how to make our quarterly tax payments to the State; and how to fill out our tax returns each April 15th.  We can only hope that the money gets back to Florida.

Be a 10 per center.  Light a candle.

Lee Jackson – Shalimar