Like many state and local governments, Jacksonville was showered with cash by a federal government eager to run the national debt up as high as possible.
This always is the end game of tax-and-spend Democrats when they are in power, in the hope that a crushing debt eventually will force even more confiscatory taxation. The harm to the populace is a distant secondary consideration weighed against the increase in power – and wealth – they will gain.
The pandemic provided an opportunity and the Democrats took full advantage, shoveling trillions of dollars out of the treasury, some to be spent on pork-barrel projects but much just given away.
To date, some $167 million in “coronavirus relief” has rained upon City Hall. As with many government endeavors the bill was artistically named: the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
It was distributed thusly:
- 40,000 lucky residents were handed $1,000 checks.
- $35 million was used to establish testing sites.
- $25.6 million was given to 156 local organizations.
- $20 million was given to people and businesses to help cover rent, loan, lease, parking and fee payments.
- 6,400 businesses got $2,000.
- $12.5 million to cover the city’s expenses related to the virus.
- $10.8 million went to small businesses that had gotten low-interest loans.
- $6.8 million went to individuals and businesses to prevent evictions and foreclosures.
- 10,000 JEA customers got $200 each to help pay their utility bills.
- 3,300 elderly people got $300 each.
- $800,000 was used to offset Workers’ Compensation costs incurred by the city related to the virus.
Presumably, at some point there will be an attempt to determine if any of the money was lost or stolen.
When that much of other people’s money flies out the door, there is bound to be fraud. By one media account at least $100 billion was stolen or misspent.
One Florida man got $2.1 million in pandemic loans, and used it to buy a Lamborghini, Rolex watches and designer clothes from Gucci and Louis Vuitton. He was arrested and is looking at 132 years, unless he draws a progressive prosecutor and judge.
No one can fault city officials for using money given to them, but we can hope for an accounting of how it was spent.