Weinroth Opposes Sales Tax Increase

When we published our story about the proposed sales tax increase, we asked several elected officials and others for comment. So far this is the only response, from Deputy Mayor Robert Weinroth of the City of Boca Raton.

Deputy Mayor Robert Weinroth
Deputy Mayor Robert Weinroth

There’s a move afoot to address the need for additional cash by tweaking the sales tax. For reasons I will discuss, below, I cannot support the proposals, as they are being negotiated between various entities.
While truth be told, there are many ways the new money could be spent that is the crux of my concern about creating this new revenue stream. No matter how many times we are told the money will be spent in a well thought out fashion, my mind harkens back to the same arguments made when the Florida Lottery was first proposed.
The Lottery was “sold” to the voters as a way to ensure the education of our children. Who could possibly argue against enough funding for our children to receive the best education possible? Unfortunately, the new funds arrived, as promised, but the funds originally earmarked for education were quietly redistributed to other budget priorities.
Thus, education and the institutions built for its delivery have not seen the benefits of all this new Lottery money. Nobody bothered to ensure the prior levels of funding were maintained or, for that matter, increased, as would have been the case absent the Lottery funding. So now we’re coming back to the voters with another opportunity to ensure enough funds to educate our children.
So excuse me if I do not believe a similar redistribution of funds will not occur when the $2.7 billion (touted as the projected windfall from a one-cent increase in our sales tax) is embraced by the electorate.
I am also not at all confident we wouldn’t create a disincentive to people making their purchases within Palm Beach County. Why pay the extra levy when a short drive south (for south county residents) or north (for north county residents) will allow them to save the sales tax differential.
OK, maybe the trips to Publix, Walgreens and CVS will be unaffected, but big-ticket items (jewelry, art and automobiles being the biggest ticket items to immediately come to mind) would be impacted.
The same would hold true for rent paid on apartments and business space. All of these things add up and if small businesses and people begin to scoot across the border to Broward or St Lucie, the projected influx of revenue is going to be illusory.
I am also not at all comfortable with the idea of increasing what is already a regressive tax. The less one makes the higher the percentage of the sales tax bite in relation to earnings. The less you save, the more you spend and the more you spend, the more sales tax you pay.
Finally, even if the municipalities were really going to see 40% of the new money (again, as the proposal is being refined I see the municipality’s cut getting smaller and smaller) other sources of funding are likely to be reduced. There are already examples of this offsetting being discussed which, in the end, reduces what new money the municipalities would actually see.
The real answer is to stop ignoring the county spending needs and pass a realistic budget, which may necessitate an increase in the millage rate and be spread more equitably to the residents of our county.
Robert S. Weinroth | Deputy Mayor
City of Boca Raton

Airplane Mosquito Spraying West of Military Trail

Palm Beach County will use an airplane to spray for mosquitoes this evening (Wednesday). Spraying will occur west of Military Trail, which means all of West Boca.
From Palm Beach County:
The Palm Beach County Division of Mosquito Control will be conducting aerial spraying over the western communities on Wednesday evening, December 16, targeting mosquitoes that have hatched as a result of recent heavy precipitation and unseasonably warm temperatures.
The coverage area of approximately 270,000 acres will target populated areas west of Military Trail, including the Glades communities. The aircraft used is a Cessna 337.
Should unstable weather conditions prevent spraying, it will take place on the next available night conditions allow.
To further help control mosquitoes, residents are asked to drain or minimize standing water on their properties.

If you are going to be outdoors after dark, be sure to use an insect repellent containing DEET and wear long pants and a long-sleeve shirt. The Aerial Spray Hotline is 561-642-8775.
Aerial spraying of pesticides has been criticized by some. As we understand it the county uses Naled.
For more about the criticism see articles in the Dallas Morning News and the Sun-Sentinel.
The county mosquito brochure is below:
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