Yesterday it was reported that Orange County lost $116 million in tourism development tax dollars this year (story HERE). These are dollars generated by hotel night stays that we’re forced to use to bolster tourism (we can’t use it on public safety or education). The losses are of course caused by the COVID 19 pandemic.
When the problems started earlier this year, I urged everyone to ask local politicians what we could do to diversify and prevent our economy from being hit so hard again in the future.
There were no answers given. Only excuses. “It takes too long” or “we’re looking into options” And we’ve seen little done in efforts to diversify economy and protect our neighbors from layoffs.
Meanwhile large amounts of these dollars are used for tourism executive salaries and to make cute videos no one in our community will ever see.
And one unfortunate cause of the pandemic is that we didn’t get to talk about it much during the election season. There is still no one in Orlando that has presented a concrete plan. We’re all just taking it day by day.
For Orlando families, they’re also taking it day by day. With food. With Electricity. With health care.
So, when we read about press conferences where we see our elected officials here in Orlando behind a podium complaining about the lack of money they can’t use, and couldn’t help Orlando families anyways if it was available, it’s hard to feel bad for them as they return to their salaried positions and government offices.
And tourism special interests don’t like diversification. It hurts their bottom line and takes their power in the community away.
Power they’re getting from our tax dollars.
And Orlando politicians still aren’t learning.