To the Editor:
Tax the few to subsidize the many! In this case, the few are the resident taxpayers of Boca Grande, and the many are not the poor and needy.
A poorly-worded and non-specific “limited” referendum is scheduled to appear on the November 6, 2012 ballot that, if passed by a majority of qualified electors, authorizes an ad valorem tax on the resident property owners of Boca Grande (the few).
The intended purpose is to eliminate or limit the amount of additional toll increases that may be decided due to the construction of our new bridges. However, if adequate financing is secured, which is possible, no toll increases will be necessary. The argument for the tax is that it will/may lessen the “burden” on day-trippers, workers who drive to work from off-island and non-resident vacationers and other visitors (the many).
Let’s examine the “burden.”
Daytrippers arrive in vehicles holding two, four or more persons, who spend many dollars eating, buying merchandise, renting golf carts, etc.: Is a reasonable increase in tolls going to dissuade them from coming because it represents a “burden”? Hardly!
Off-island workers who drive on and off the island daily, whose gas prices have doubled in just the last year: If the tax is deemed justified to subsidize any additional increases for them, wouldn’t it seem equally justified for a tax to subsidize the (much more costly) fuel prices these people have incurred? Of course not – that would be absurd!
Workers who drive on-island to deliver goods and those who work in construction and services such as landscaping and a myriad of other services: Consider the value and cost of their goods and services on a daily basis. Is a potential toll increase going to be any kind of a financial factor? It would probably be an immeasurable factor!
Lastly, let’s consider a potentially very important factor. Passing this referendum could open a “Pandora’s Box,” setting a precedent for potential future special taxes for any number of “special projects” on the island such as expansion of commercial facilities, parking facilities, etc. etc. etc.
On November 6, vote a resounding NO. And be sure you know which one you mark as against the tax.
Ken BarryFull-time resident of Boca Grande and Lee County registered voter
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