Today, the paper published a write up that perfectly shaped up my sentiment over the some of the fiscal behavior we’re seeing from Orange County government this year. It’s pointing out the fact that VISIT Orlando is up for a funding increase from the Board of Orange County Commissioners, while the county is preparing residents to raise their own taxes for transportation improvements next year (story HERE).
If that sounds wrong to even the most non political residents of Orange County, it should.
We’re giving county revenue to an agency that promotes tourism in Orlando. These are efforts that go to fuel the already self-promoting theme parks. And we’re helping them in the middle of an affordable housing crisis in the region while offering some of the lowest wages in the country.
And then the county is taking data from Visit Orlando and using it to make the case to voters on while they should raise their sales taxes for the transportation improvement push (story HERE).
It should make you angry. I can tell you that I get frustrated talking about it.
Still, it’s likely county commissioners will pass the measure and push millions towards an agency that doesn’t need it.
We can think of better ways to use that money, both in and out of the tourism arena. It’s also time we go to the state and ask for more flexibility on how we can spend dollars that are tied to tourism. Public safety, education, and indeed, transportation, would all be better expenditures than we’re seeing now.
I hope there are some fiscally aware Commissioners that will turn it away, but you see, they get campaign donations from the tourism industry. It’s likely not going to happen.
Their reelection is more important to them than county revenue that could be better spent on you and the community around you.
We can’t forget this one, guys.