If my ideas as a candidate have already benefitted the citizens of Hillsborough County, can you imagine the benefits to my constituents I can achieve as a Commissioner?
I am thrilled that my idea advocating "putting the County checkbook online" will come to fruition sooner rather than later, as the County Commission unanimously voted at the last BOCC meeting for more transparency in County Expenditures. It's time for the county to increase transparency regarding taxpayer dollars. My candidacy has already scored a VICTORY and had a POSITIVE Impact on the taxpayers of Hillsborough County. See my Press Release below on this issue.
Calvert's Candidacy Forces Crist to the Right
Sharon Calvert announced her candidacy for Hillsborough County Commission, District 2, in March. She immediately stated a key platform issue is to put the County checkbook online to ensure transparency and fiscal accountability. Calvert believes that taxpayers deserve to know where the money is spent and to whom the checks are written. Imitation is the highest form of flattery. Calvert's candidacy has now positively impacted the County. However, it's taken her opponent, Victor Crist, 20 years in political office to arrive at Calvert's position at yesterday's BOCC meeting. Calvert also believes taxpayer-funded lobbying contracts should be online! Perhaps Crist will pirate this idea next! Go to http://votesharoncalvert.com/ to read more about Calvert's campaign.
Posted on 16 Jun 2012, 7:41 - Category: Local issues
I was on the Adventures of a Mom Patriot blog talk radio program this week having a "Conversation in our Community". We were discussing the role of county government and informing listeners that local government is what impacts individuals and families the most each and every day. Hillsborough County will continue to have budget challenges that must be addressed. With $16 Trillion of federal debt (which does not include the unfunded liabilities of entitlements), we cannot continue to expect that federal dollars will continue flowing to states and local municipalities as they have in the past. To listen to the interview, please go to:
Posted on 16 Jun 2012, 7:18 - Category: Local issues
Taxpayers in Hillsborough County need to keep a watchful eye on where our tax dollars are going. Recent articles in the Tampa Tribune are reasons to worry that the rail issue is here again (or never went away), to worry that Power Brokers are trying to push a new baseball stadium with tax money and the overall push for regional solutions that take away local control and accountability.
MPO members voted last week to ask state lawmakers to give Florida's large cities the power to hold citywide votes on sales tax increases. The request could go to the Legislature next session.
Could the city finance a light-rail system alone?
"To look realistically at the sales tax we would be able to generate just from within the city, it wouldn't be enough to fund light rail," she said.
Chamber of commerce leaders from Tampa and St. Petersburg who have been studying how to pay for a new Rays stadium landed on an obscure federal immigration program called EB-5 that might help with the half-billion-dollar tab.Chuck Sykes, co-chairman of the Tampa chamber group, has his eye on the program. He was traveling last week and responded to a reporter's questions by e-mail.
"Yes, we have explored EB-5 visa financing," Sykes wrote. "There may be a role for it in financing a stadium."
Sound farfetched? Maybe not, suggested Bill Flynn, a Tampa immigration lawyer who has worked on EB-5 deals.
"Yes, of course it could be used in a sports funding method, as long as you play by the rules of the game," Flynn said.
Sykes and 13 other business leaders from the cities' chambers of commerce have met for nearly a year to study how to pay for a new Rays stadium. They're convinced the team needs a replacement for Tropicana Field, but they aren't tackling the toughest question: where to put it.
Moreyra and Lippincott have been advising Sykes' chamber stadium caucus on how the EB-5 program might fund a ballpark. To be sure, a stadium would be a real test for the program. It's not clear whether a Tampa Bay area stadium could attract enough foreign investors to raise, say, $100 million or more.
Local lawyers and investment firms say they have seen EB-5 money put toward Florida hotels and shopping centers, but nothing as big as a ballpark. Still, stadium developers nationwide are eyeing the immigration program.
Meantime, the mayor of Oakland, Calif., has considered using EB-5 money to pay for a new Oakland Athletics baseball stadium. Like the Rays, the A's want a new ballpark. That city suffered a big blow to its stadium plans when some funding unrelated to EB-5 collapsed. So it's unclear if foreigners will play a role in financing an A's ballpark, Oakland city official Gregory Hunter said.
In recent months, critics have attacked the EB-5 program's results. According to the Bloomberg article, foreign investors sometimes pump money into American development projects and hope they will get a green card a couple of years later.
In reality, some projects collapse, never creating the promised jobs, and the foreigners don't get their green cards.
Posted on 9 Apr 2012, 20:53 - Category: Local issues