One City Council member sees a disturbing pattern in city government of taxing and spending with no end in sight.
“I’ve been warning about taxes,” Council Member Al Ferraro told Eye on Jacksonville.
The latest in a string of tax increases is a local option boat registration fee. It could pass Tuesday, despite widespread opposition.
The bill is sponsored by Council Member Garrett Dennis – who doesn’t own a boat.
Even the Jacksonville Waterways Commission voted unanimously against the tax.
It gained little support in the council and was deferred a number of times – until after the council voted 14-5 to double the local option tax that was opposed by a majority of taxpayers,
That followed the School Board’s vote to increase the local sales tax for schools, which followed the council’s decision to increase the local sales tax to rescue the city’s pension plans.
It’s not over.
Ferraro said Council Member Matt Carlucci chairman of the powerful Finance Committee, has been advocating openly for a property tax increase.
The revenue from the boat registration fee would be relatively small, about $250,000 a year, and presumably would be spent on the city’s 26 boat ramps and its city docks.
It will amount to 50 percent of the fee already paid to the state and be used for patrol, regulation and maintenance of the lakes, rivers and waters and for boating relating activities within Duval County.
Ferraro said he is not necessarily against doing more for actual needs. “But we need to build trust up,” he said.
He insists the planned expansion of septic tank replacements could have been done without the gas tax increase. The gas tax revenue merely replace spending already authorized in the city’s capital improvement plan, to free up money for replacing septic tanks.
Apparently, some council members who voted for the tax increase never realized that. At the council meeting when it passed they kept referring to the need to fund the already funded projects.
Politicians seem to be counting on money to trickle down to Jacksonville from the state and federal governments. An estimated $343 million is believed to be headed to Jacksonville from the Great Federal Giveaway of 2021.
But there are politicians who believe Jacksonville citizens should be ashamed for hoarding the money they have earned and spending it on their families’ needs rather than the “greater good” that liberal politicians serve.
UPDATE: The Boat Registration fee did NOT pass. Keep an Eye open on the property tax increase that MIGHT be on the agenda soon.