Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Pension Sales Tax; Other Options Just Won't Do

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Pension Sales Tax; Other Options Just Won't Do

Article excerpt

There is a saying that's often applied to leaders in the Middle East: "They never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity."

If Jacksonville voters turn down the special pension sales tax, that motto could be used here.

In Jacksonville's case, attempts to resolve the crisis have repeatedly failed. It's time to finally take some action.

The sales tax is not perfect, but then no solution is.

The mayor has proposed a half-cent sales tax to take effect in 2030 when the Better Jacksonville Plan sales tax expires.

Bottom line: No increase felt by citizens.

To defeat the proposal is to put Jacksonville on the road to a continuing financial crisis and will stunt Jacksonville's quality of life for years to come.


Of course, the city now is nowhere near Detroit's financial state because there is plenty of room to raise revenue; Detroit was tapped out.

But Detroit did not go bankrupt overnight.

It was a long, slow decline that involved repeatedly raising taxes and never doing the hard business of reform.

To pass the sales tax will put Jacksonville's financial house in order and leave many options open for progress.

The difference is that stark: A city with all of its opportunities before it - or a city on the road to Detroit.


Citizens are angry and frustrated. That's understandable.

Some readers don't like the order of the reform. Negotiate with unions first, then pass the tax, some say. Actually some reform has already taken place and more is set in the future. Shared sacrifice for employees is already in effect. Wage freezes or cuts have been routine in recent years.

And the benefits from the proposed sales tax would not take effect until current pension plans are closed and replaced. In fact, reform is baked into this plan. …

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