Letter to the editor

TDC money Did you know that State Statute 125.0104(3)(d) allows the 2 percent tourist tax to be raised from 2 percent to 3 percent one of two ways: By the extraordinary vote of the governing board (county commission by four “yes” votes) or a referendum approval by the registered voters of the county. Which do you think the TDC is presenting to the county commission: a 2 percent or a 3 percent plan? Do they care what the voters think or want? Have you heard a reason as to why the 50 percent raise in the tax is needed? One of the council persons stated he thought we should have the money because everyone gets more than we get. It’s reported in the Highlands County Tourist Development Balances, fiscal year 2012-13, that as of Feb. 1, 2013, the available balance of the TDC fund is $603,989.92. That is money they haven’t used. Arts and culture has $191,276.82 in their fund that hasn’t been used except to help pay Mr. Scherlacher’s salary and benefits. They both say they need more money. In the 10 years the TDC has been operating, they have collected better than $3 million and used $1.26 million of it for administration, that is 42 percent, not 20 percent as in the 2002 plan. And what have they accomplished?
Was the TDC created to see how much tax money they could collect, or was it to bring tourists to Highlands? And do you think tourists will flock to Highlands just so they can pay a larger tax, or do they come to enjoy the events and lakes we have here? How many tourists have the TDC brought to Highlands? I sure would like for them to tell us how many, who and when? Or do they just let others spend their money to bring in the tourists, then reimburse them, then take credit for the tourists that came? Remember in 2002 it was “Summer Tourists Make Cents.” Well, summer is coming up. Let’s see what they do. Bill Youngman Citizens for Government Accountability Sebring George W. Bush The dedication of George W. Bush’s “Presidential Center” is yet another monument to hubris and a “rewrite” of history. Featured exhibits include a piece of the World Trade Center buildings brought down on 9/11 together with his bull horn, which he held while draping himself over a New York fire chief to demonstrate his supposed camaraderie. Modestly omitted is the “Mission Accomplished” banner from the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln visited in 2003 and his flight suit and the S-3 Viking aircraft, emblazoned with his name as if an aircrew member, to a ship which was 30 miles offshore before his “historic hop.” Why not? Reagan’s has an Air Force One as well as a piece of the Berlin Wall. What should have been included was the erroneous data fed to Congress and country to induce us to invade Iraq, all later contained in Congress joint resolution of Oct. 2, 2002. Perhaps also his faux modesty and humor about not finding weapons of mass destruction. Now he pridefully postures and declares it was still a good thing to have done; history will judge him, etc. For the family, another occasion to put forward Jeb for 2016, his sterling record in dismantling schools in Florida by advancing testing over teaching, with no mention of the family’s heavy investment in testing companies by Jeb. Just what we need, another Bush to add laurels to the litany of the family creds. An invasion of Panama to arrest one man. Invasion of Iraq based on faulty information. What would Jeb like to invade? Perhaps Cuba to mollify his Miami Crazy Constituency. Yeah! Just what we need, another Bush. Randy Ludacer Lake Placid