6 days ago, 05/16/2013 at 3:45pm
Money, Money, Money
We’ve been hearing a lot of talk about money, government money, which is to say your and my money, lately.
The Commissioners of Lee County voted to pledge $4.6 million in county funds to a mystery corporation, now known as Hertz.
The state of Florida offered $12 million, plus $68 million in tax credits.
Add that all up and we’re talking about some real money. Whether it’s tax credits or money paid outright, that's over $84 million that otherwise would have been available for state or county spending needs.
This is the state that refused to expand Medicare, walking away from $500 million in federal dollars (again, yours and mine) to expand Medicaid funding for the poor, choosing to dump the costs of uninsured Floridians on hospitals who then pass it along to all of us. But what do our legislators know about the reality of health care insurance. Members of the Florida House pay less than $9 per month for single coverage; $30/month for family. Senators pay $50/month. If you write the check for your family’s health care insurance, you know how laughable that is. Wouldn’t we all love to have family coverage for $30/month? Where do we sign up?
While our legislators were wrestling with health insurance and end of session challenges, Governor Scott was readying the multi-million dollar package to attract Hertz to Florida and Lee County.
Will it be good to have a major corporate headquarters in Lee County? Sure. It shows that our area has the amenities that executives look for in both their business and personal lives. This is a great place to live and work. So, why does it require an $84 million carrot to bring them here? Short answer – because if we didn’t offer it, someplace else would.
Does our county have the funds to pay Hertz to move here? That’s up for debate. In recent years, our county has been spending more than it takes in, using reserves that are just about depleted.