“Rather than a profile in courage this vote was a profile in cowardice.” That’s what the arrogant bully Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn had to say about the four Hillsborough county commissioners who voted against more taxes. Last night, in a surprise 4-3 vote, the Hillsborough county commission voted against a political campaign to “let the voters” decide to raise their taxes. It was, quite simply, an act of political courage. The commissioners have been getting heavily pressured by the well-healed Chamber of Commerce to create a massive $3.5 billion slush fund to feed sweetheart transit deals for the next thirty years. The Chamber of Corporate Cronies were offering the same old tired and false promises about “economic development” and “lost millennials” to push their case. These canards were so stale that not even a starving dog would eat them. Four County Commissioners didn’t bite either.
It took immense courage for Commissioners Crist, Murman, Higginbotham and White to vote “no” (call & email to thank them here). The intent of the political class was to create a 30 year, ½ cent, $117 million annual tax hike for a nebulous “transit” plan. The first ten years would put 45% to “transit”, the next ten years would put 70% to “transit”. To decode that, “transit” means light rail. The utopian pipe dream of all the members of the arrogant elite political class is a light rail system. Never mind that they never decrease congestion and fail in nearly every city in which they exist. Never mind the massive per-ride tax subsidy, the cost-overruns, the corrupt crony deals and the train vs. car crashes! Nope, these political pigs need a trough full of cash for decades of gorging. They are banking on an unaware patsy of a public to blithely buy their transit tripe and happily vote more poverty for themselves and more wealth for the fat cats. They know that once a mile of rail gets laid anywhere in Tampa bay, then it is off to the races for decades of rail crony cash everywhere, trading under the straw-man of “protecting the investment”.
There would be no courage whatsoever in putting a referendum to raise taxes to a public vote. That would have been an act of sheer cowardice by elected officials who have seen the data and know this is a boondoggle designed to make the well-connected richer. The act of courage was to stand up to the liberal political activists bleating about how the precious snowflake “millennials” would move away if they didn’t have a train to ride (to be built in 20 years, when they are middle aged). The act of courage was to stand up to the Tampa Chamber of Commerce and the Sykes Executive who surely will throw money at their political opponents in their never ending quest for more slush fund money. The act of courage was to suffer the threats of the bullies like Tampa Mayor Buckhorn, County administrator Merrill and the ever disgusting “Connect Tampa Bay” Kevin Thurman and still vote “no”. God Bless the County Commissioners who recognized that this boondoggle was a rail bridge too far. They were hopefully swayed by the 58% defeat of Tampa Rail in 2010, the 62% defeat of Pinellas rail in 2014 and the 72% kill shot in Polk in 2014. The voters owe great thanks to the Tampa tea party warriors and leaders who have stood up for citizens for years: Sharon Calvert, Karen Jaroch, Tim Curtis and so many others. But be on guard, the transit zombies never stay buried for long and these tax-eating horrors will arise again to continue their pogrom of transit terror and property destruction against the citizens again. Soon.