There appears to be a willful attempt to deceive the public on the amount of the increase in the sales tax. County officials and others insist on calling the sales tax increase “the half-cent” sales tax increase when, in fact, it is a half-percent sales tax increase!
The basic math difference between 6.5 percent and 7 percent sales tax is a 7.7 percent increase in the bottom line sales tax: Not a half-cent increase! The correct use of words do matter particularly when it involves money. And to the average resident this may mean pizza or a steak dinner every now and then.
Perhaps the county should look to ameliorate its oncoming revenue issues by examining the other side of the ledger. Providing funds to for-profit hospitals is a good place to start. The best-kept secret is Manatee Memorial Hospital is obligated to provide care regardless of ability to pay. This requirement is tied to the Hill-Burton law and funds used to build hospitals after World War II. This applies to anyone who accesses care through the ER; and a sign at the entrance indicates this obligation.
There may come a time when someone files a lawsuit or perhaps even a class-action to hold this for-profit hospital to its obligation. Until such time, the county should vote up or down to spend taxpayers’ money on for-profit hospitals when it is not required to do so. Tradition dies hard, it has been said; particularly when it involves money.
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