Letters to the editor, Jan. 24

Published: Thursday, January 24, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 23, 2008 at 5:25 p.m.

Amendment 1 a disaster

Over the last decade legislators in Tallahassee have shifted more and more of the financial responsibility to educating our children and providing services such as police and fire protection to local governments.

They have relied on local property taxes to reward the rich by giving away billions of state dollars for such items as luxury tax exemptions, exemptions for the sale of yachts, stadium skyboxes and bonds while cutting billions of dollars from a faltering state budget.

On Jan. 29, a Constitutional Amendment originating from the legislature and Gov. Crist - that could result in cuts to public education and governmental services - will be on the primary ballot. It was crafted hastily after the original constitutional amendment designed by the Legislature was ruled unconstitutional.

It will take a 60 percent vote for approval to pass this amendment. Tax reform should not be rushed. If the Legislature and governor truly want to help Floridians, they would ease taxpayer discontent by placing the state's entire tax system on the table. The possible disastrous results from passage of this amendment may never be repaired.

Today, at 3:30 p.m., a press conference involving a coalition of representatives from the North Central Florida Central Labor Council, Democratic Executive Committee, governmental agencies, concerned citizens, and elected officials will be held on the steps of the Gainesville City Hall to urge a vote of "no" on Amendment 1. All interested parties are invited to attend to ensure a secure future for our local community and state.

Gunnar Paulson,


Alachua County Education Association

Jon Reiskind,


Alachua County Democratic Party,


Vote for this tax cut, services won't suffer

By all means, vote for it! Alachua County and the City of Gainesville continue to conduct business as usual in the same old way and if doing so becomes more expensive, then they just raise taxes.

If the voters complain they trot out the old "We'll just have to cut police and fire services." This is the oldest refrain in local government, and it's wearing thin.

With over 20 years of experience in local government, I can confidently say that there are many ways that these entities can be more effective without affecting service levels. I have proven this working as both internal and external consultant with local governments.

If they were open to doing business differently, exercising leadership over management, involving people in the process (employees and citizens), eliminating processes that waste time and money, and focus on articulated goals, they would find that they can be more effective with less money.

The county and city commissions have a penchant for giving away millions to developers in the form of tax incentives, infrastructure, maintenance, and all at the expense of quality of life (e.g. road congestion, natural resources). However, the resultant costs for increases in public services, fire and police, parks and recreation, inspections, and every other aspect of government will continue to be more than the taxes brought in by the new developments. Wages and benefits paid to employees will continue to rise and taxes will continue to rise.

Reinventing government is possible, but apparently not by those currently in office. Please don't let the scare tactics succeed; call their bluff and take an active interest in your government .

D. Bruce Lucier,


The schools won't suffer if Amendment 1 passes

In response to Margaret Eppe's letter of Jan. 18 ("if property tax cuts pass, school funding will suffer"):

Amendment 1 states "Homesteaders will get an additional $25,000 exemption on the assessed value of their homes by exempting the assessed value between $50,000 and $75,000. The proposal also states, "The additional exemption does not apply to that portion of your bill that is property taxes for schools."

Since the portion of the taxpayer's bill that goes to schools has been exempted, Eppes' fears appear groundless.

A provision within the referendum that does pose some concern is "the provision for homestead exemptions to be repealed if a future constitutional amendment provides for assessment of homesteads at less than just value" The term "just value" provides the Legislature a wide open opportunity to reassess Florida homes at inflated values.

Elaine Gudbrandsen,

High Springs

Behead this monster by passing Amendment 1

The Gainesville Sun had two articles on Jan. 17: the first suggests the county spend $27 million for a county arena, and the second indicating the county will spend $21,500 to campaign against the tax amendment.

Folks, we need to cut off the head of this monster that has an insatiable appetite for our tax dollars. The county paid consultants to tell us to raise taxes on tourists so we can construct an arena. This arena will lose money for the first few years then perhaps make a paltry $15,890.

Why do we need a new arena when we have the O'Connell Center, the UF stadium, The Performing Arts Center, various high school gymnasiums and football fields?

The County Commission has voted to spend $21,400 of taxpayer money to campaign against the tax amendment. If you give them money they will spend it, not on security and safety, but on feel good stuff, and then will look for ways to ask for more tax money.

Vote for the tax amendment and against the commissioners, except Lee Pinkoson.

Gary Cook,


Turn out for Lady Gators

Kudos to the Gator Nation for filling the O'Dome for a UF gymnastics meet. Now let's see if we can do the same for the women's basketball team.

The Gator Nation should be embarrassed at how few people show up for the women's games. This is a school of over 40,000 and we cannot even fill the lower levels. These women are members of the UF family. They have sacrificed and worked hard all year to do their best to represent the school.

I have seen these women play in spite of broken fingers bandaged together, taped ankles, elbows in the eyes, bruises from being pushed, shoved and slammed onto the hard wood. They get up and keep going in their desire to win for UF.

I know we haven't won a national championship, yet, but we will. It will take time and the support of the Gator Nation to achieve this. The O'Dome should be rockin' with noise and cheers for UF women's basketball. Other teams should quake at the thought of having to play here.

Show up tonight at 7 p.m., when the team plays the Georgia Bulldogs. Show the Dawgs, again, that the Gator Nation supports all its athletes.

Pam Moses,


Where do they get off?

Should county commissioners be spending your tax dollars to persuade you to vote against the property tax cut? To respond go to:


Click on Virtual Town Hall Meeting.

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