Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Opinion Roundup; Pension Solution Deserves an Open Mind

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Opinion Roundup; Pension Solution Deserves an Open Mind

Article excerpt

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."

That motto was personified by the small-minded opposition by congressional candidate Bill McClure to the proposed sales tax to fund Duval County's pension debt.

In a news release, McClure boasted, "As Republicans, we are supposed to oppose tax increases."

Oh, really? All tax increases? Even when the financial health of a city is at stake along with its quality of life?

McClure, one of many candidates for the congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Ander Crenshaw, is a St. Johns County commissioner.

Interestingly, St. Johns County voters, a Republican-dominated county, recently approved a sales tax increase to support quality public schools.

This newspaper's editorial board supported that increase because the public schools in St. Johns deserve support and also serve as an economic driver. In addition, a high percentage of sales tax revenue will come from visitors and tourists, some from Duval County, no doubt.

McClure offers no substitute for Duval's pension debt other than to criticize "mismanagement" and "spending addiction."

On the contrary, Duval County's Republican-dominated City Council has been cutting budgets for years.

And for many years city leaders slashed millage rates.

In any case, there are no spending cuts that would compensate for the $2.76 billion unfunded pension liability.

If the sales tax does not pass, the next option would be an increase in the property tax.

A property tax hike would hit small business hard, it would not pick up revenue from commuters and visitors and would make it more difficult to raise revenues for other civic needs.

Political posturing is expected during election season, but it deserves condemnation when it affects the city's future.

MORE ELECTION OUTRAGES

The will of the voters was snubbed in two more cases recently when write-in candidates closed primary elections to many potential voters.

The best known cases involved the state attorney and public defender races.

Now two Florida House races have been closed due to write-in candidates.

We doubt that's what the voters had in mind when they passed a constitutional amendment that called for elections to be open when the only candidates in a primary come from one party.

Now in a few races the general election ballot will include the winner of the primary along with a line to write in the name of a candidate.

That's absurd and disenfranchises large numbers of voters.

The Legislature should close this loophole, but they are unlikely to do it because each party likes its advantages - Republicans in North Florida and Democrats in South Florida.

The most practical way to fix this is through another constitutional amendment. …

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