Letter to Rep. John Tobia on CRAs
Letter to Representative John Tobia –
From: Skip Bollinger
Friday, October 12, 2012
Hi John – Again, I wish to complement you on your growth in the job, and on your performance Wednesday night. I believe you’ve matured considerably in the past couple of years, and are deserving of much credit. Your letter to Gov Scott in opposition to SunRail was a biggie for me – thanks!
As promised, attached please find a few blurbs in criticism of FS 163 & 189 which enable the creation of CRAs and Special Districts. I urge you to consider their repeal, or at least revision, with an eye toward ending the theft and corruption they enable/encourage.
A couple of basic points:
1) Question: Can a local gummint body (town, city, county) that has the authority to create a CRA (or special district) do anything via said CRA that it couldn’t do without it? If the answer is no, then the CRA is redundant and unnecessary. If the answer is yes, then, merely by their action of creating the CRA, the creating body has autonomously expanded the scope of its own power/authority, a concept antithetical to the basic principles of our form of government.
2) If a business owner wishes to spruce up his shop, as a private citizen he has no right to demand that his fellow businessmen in the neighborhood chip in and contribute to his project; and, should he use force to make them contribute (say at gunpoint), he’d be breaking the law and his neighbors would have recourse for recompense through the legal system. However, if the same businessman can convince his city council to create a CRA, tax those same neighbors on behalf of his improvement project and give the proceeds to him to accomplish the task, no law has been broken. His fellow businessmen have been deprived of their hard-earned money to the same extent as if they’d been robbed at gunpoint, but now they have no legal recourse to be made whole. (In his 1850 booklet on the topic, “The Law,” Frederic Bastiat called this “legal plunder” – i.e. theft under the color of law.)
3) And finally we come to the Constitutional issue, the financing. Article VII § 12 of Florida’s Constitution requires any long-term debt that is to be paid off with ad valorem tax revenues to be voted on by the affected citizens in referendum. FS 163 & 189 circumvent that provision and deny the citizens their right to vote on how much debt with which they may choose to encumber themselves.
It’s taken our little focus group (Brevard County Citizen’s Coalition) considerable effort over the past couple of years to inform ourselves on these issues; so, at least on this, I’m not just shootin’ from the hip – we’ve done our homework. In the interest of avoiding overload, I’m only sending a small portion of my file on the topic – I’d be happy to send more on request. I’m currently working on another paper that will look into the legislative history of the statutes; I’ll copy you when (and if) it’s ever complete. (For starters, 163 was born in 1969 under the RINO administration of then recently-converted former lifelong Democrat Claude Kirk at a time when Democrats still held a 2/3 majority in both houses of the Florida Legislature. Hmmm – kinda makes ya question the motives, doesn’t it?)
God Bless, Skip Bollinger (firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Your erstwhile critic)
**NOTE** If you interested in seeing the attachments that were sent by Skip to John Tobia, please contact him at the above email and he will forward them to you.