Yesterday the organization Florida Tax Watch in Tallahassee published its report “The 2019 Budget Turkey Watch Report: An Analysis of the Transparency and Accountability of the Budget Process.” Per their wording on the report they state:
“The report started in 1983, and having been published annually since 1986, promotes additional oversight and integrity in the state’s budgeting process based on the principle that: because money appropriated by the Legislature belongs to the taxpayers of Florida, the process must be transparent and accountable, and every appropriation should receive deliberation and public debate. The budget review identifies appropriations that circumvent transparency and accountability standards in public budgeting. Budget Turkeys are items, usually local member projects, placed in individual line-items or accompanying proviso language that are added to the final appropriations bill without being fully scrutinized and subjected to the budget process.”
Eye on Jacksonville took a look at some of the local member projects and we agree, there are a few turkeys and they are plump!
The best one seems to be a good-idea project…”$8 Million ask for downtown workforce housing.”
Let me explain why workforce housing is necessary.
When a downtown is developed with expensive high rise condos, luxury hotels, convention centers and other high priced buildings, the workforce to serve these entities need a place to reside. These housing developments are put up for them so they can be close to work. This makes sense.
For a developer to come to town and help build a downtown, they require help from the city to create incentives for them to make a profit. Profits are not bad as some people think they are. Profits are good and exorbitant profits with the use of our tax incentives is not good.
There is where the turkey for this project comes into play.
A local seasoned workforce housing developer, John Rood, does good work. It appears, however, he is receiving about 90% of the tax deals in downtown. He is a good friend of the Mayor’s and a great investor in his campaigns. We question if this is fair – he gets approximately 90%? Hummm.
And as my famous mentor, Charles “Red” Scott said, “Creativity is good, but not in accounting.” Eye on Jacksonville has a feeling that creativity is rampant in these tax incentives. Why?
Because a 140 unit workforce housing should receive about $4 Million but this deal is giving $8 Million to Mr. Rood. Who’s doing the calculations for these deals?
Don’t get me wrong…we need the housing. We need to help developers. We need to do our part. We do NOT need to give more than is necessary for a profit – especially not double the profits to someone who is getting almost all of these deals downtown.
Just sayin…and we know it will not change the game. But at least we can poke the bear and let them know Eye has their eye on you, you turkeys!
Check out the full report filled with turkeys and contact Gov. DeSantis if any of them should be line item vetoed out of the budget.
Here you go: