Fifth Question: Public Services Tax
Each week through the General Election, The Breeze will ask the candidates for Cape Coral City Council an issue-related question. In the interest of fairness, each candidate is limited to the same amount of space, about 100 words, for their response. The fifth question is: What is your position on the city imposing a new tax on “public services,” such as electric or natural gas utility bills paid by residents?
Peter Brandt (I)
I’m not a fan of instituting any “new” taxes, and have consistently voted against this type of taxation each time it has been raised. Adopting such a tax or taxes would have the effect of reducing the regressive nature of our overall tax burden and would have the effect of allowing a reduction in our millage rate. If that is shown at some point to produce an overall benefit to the city and its residents, I’d restudy my position, and perhaps consider passing such a tax. This would likely be only if sunset provisions could be included in the deal.
John Carioscia Sr.
I am not in favor of the city imposing a new tax on “public services” such as electric or natural gas utility bills.
A city government must learn to live with the money that is available to them.
Enough is enough.
No new taxes, period.
William Deile (I)
I am opposed to a public services tax as it is just another way to fund government growth with your money. From 2002 to 2008 the City’s General Fund grew 148 percent, three times faster than population growth. Now that ad valorem taxes (home values) are down, the big spenders are looking for another way to fund government spending and have hit on a public service tax. Many meretricious reasons may be proffered in its support; however, it is simply another vehicle to take your money. Just as you have had to do, government must live within its means and I as a fiscal conservative intend to help it do so.
Leonard Nesta Jr.
I am an open minded person with all options on the table, but I don’t like this new tax. I will have to look the city’s position on this and why they want to do this. There has been talk about other way to help offset the city’s taxes by looking at Lee County for help.
I do not support expansion of public service taxes to electricity, natural gas or other utilities. The City Council currently levies a 5.22 percent Communication Tax which will cost residents an estimated $625,000 for the 2012 fiscal year. Most consumers look at this cost as a part of their utility bill rather than a city levy. It is an underhanded way to get more taxes from the same taxpayer base.
While a “public service tax” seems an effective way to increase, stabilize and diversify the revenue stream, in reality it is just another tax on the same citizens. In fact, it makes full time residents pay a higher share than part-time residents, and absentee landowners pay nothing.
Wm. “Scott” Morris
A tax that is spread among all residents is an equitable way to raise revenue. If a new tax such as public services is implemented there should be a reduction in property taxes for property owners. Without a reduction you are simply increasing the burden on property owners, which is simply not fair. Proper research would need to be done to see how much revenue could be raised and how much property taxes could be lowered before I could support such an idea.
We MUST change our current philosophy with regards to the relationship between city service levels and the millage rate. The primary reason why the subject of a public service – or any other “tax” – is meant with such opposition is because for years we have made city services dependent on the millage rate. We must reverse our current philosophy to one that makes the millage rate dependent upon the service levels we desire. Until we adopt this philosophy, the topic of a public service tax must be considered as a possible option because of our atypical high dependence on residential property taxes.
I am not in favor of imposing a new tax on public services. Cape Coral government must be run in the most efficient manner possible, providing quality services to its residents for the lowest cost possible. Adding a new tax on the residents of Cape Coral would put a burden on our citizens who are already struggling in this tough economy to make their own household budgets.
City of Cape Coral General Election: Nov. 8
Voter registration book closed Oct. 11
Early voting: Oct. 31 through Nov.5
Cape Coral City Council races are non-partisan, citywide elections meaning registered voters can cast a ballot in each race, no matter party affiliation, no matter the district in which they live.