In the waning days of one of the most divisive episodes in the history of Volusia County politics, the tax grabbers – Big Money insiders, their elected chattel on the dais of power and the cabal of millionaires over at the Volusia CEO Business Alliance who have financed this pernicious money grab – are bringing out the Big Guns.
Like many of you, I was terribly disappointed to see our incredibly popular Sheriff Mike Chitwood – who, to this point, has been a staunch advocate for changing the status quo and returning sanity and a sense of accountability to what passes for government in Volusia County – change tack earlier this week when he issued a social media post encouraging voters to approve this ravenous pass-through scheme that more efficiently transfers our hard-earned money to the groaning wallets of political insiders.
As though it were previously orchestrated, within hours, The Daytona Beach News-Journal went to press with a front page/above the fold spread – “Volusia Sheriff backs sales tax” – clearly exploiting the incredible popularity of Volusia County’s chief lawman.
Frankly, I am mystified why Sheriff Mike Chitwood would wade into this galvanizing shit storm in the first place?
In the prominent piece by Dustin Wyatt in Tuesday’s News-Journal, the Sheriff is quoted:
“He (Chitwood) said he wanted to vote no on the tax in protest of “all the damage” county leaders have caused.”
“Then I realized my no vote doesn’t punish the County Council. It punishes everyone else,” he wrote. “We didn’t ask to be put in this hole, but here we are. Let’s climb out first, and then deal with those who did the digging.”
Look, Sheriff Chitwood is no dummy – but in this instance, we are going to have to agree to disagree.
The fact is, if approved, this sales tax increase will have a debilitating impact on those Volusia County residents who can least afford it – the thousands currently living at or below the poverty line – the more than 21,000 local households paying over half of their monthly take-home pay for housing alone – the single-parent making minimum wage – and the 45,000+ families here on Florida’s fabled Fun Coast who earn less than 50% of the area’s median income (south of $26,000 for a family of three).
This sales tax increase won’t help the growing number of families who eke out a living as warehouse drones, retail salesclerks or work dead-end service jobs in a fading tourist economy.
It damn sure won’t benefit senior citizens on fixed incomes who struggle mightily to maintain a home under crushing property taxes, fees and exorbitant insurance rates – in one of the already highest taxed counties in Florida – or young families working hard to establish themselves who will now suffer the additional burden of increased taxes at the point-of-sale.
In my view, Sheriff Chitwood is going to have a hard time convincing the large segment of his constituency who will suffer the most under this shameless money grab that their “quality of life” is somehow going to improve by increasing their tax burden. . .
While I wholeheartedly support Sheriff Chitwood’s efforts to expose the ineptitude, quid pro quo corruption and institutional inefficiencies in that bloated bureaucracy in DeLand, in my view, his take on the half-cent sales tax is simply wrong.
I believe it’s time for long-suffering Volusia County residents to say, “enough is enough” and put an end to this greed-crazed, tax-fueled oligarchical system.
There is something Sheriff Chitwood wrote in his Facebook post that I can get behind:
“Whatever you decide on this tax, I ask you to vote for what you think is right. And if yours is a protest vote, I ask you to also show up at the ballot box when our failed County Council “leaders” are up for re-election in the future.”
Folks, I hope you will join the growing number of family, friends and neighbors who are standing firm to the core belief that handing more of our hard-earned money to the same inept assholes that created this “infrastructure emergency” through unchecked sprawl and an exploitative corporate welfare culture is fundamentally wrong.
Refuse to be fleeced by millionaire insiders and their craven marionettes on the dais of power – VOTE NO!
It is the very essence of good citizenship to fightback against an insidious system that no longer represents the interests of We, The People – then begin the arduous process of reestablishing a government that serves all of its constituents as we work collaboratively to restore the public’s trust in our once-revered political processes.
In my view, that important process shouldn’t begin by throwing good money after bad.