The largesse that a couple of Largo commission members intend to dump on seniors with low incomes is as phony as a three dollar bill.
Mayor Pat “Shaky” Gerard, along with Rodney Woods, are making loud sounds about an additional $15,000 homestead tax exemption being not nearly enough.
Needs to be at least $25,000, these two do-gooders proclaim.
Do-gooders of this type, by the way, are the kind who want to be big hearted by taking your money and giving it to the other guy while they take the credit for generosity.
It’s all bogus.
Number one, to qualify for the proposed exemption an applicant would have to be over 65 and with income less than $22,693 for all persons living in the household. Repeat – total household income.
Those kind of folks are mostly renters. They don’t own homes, for the most part. Qualifying home owners claiming the additional homestead exemption would be few and far between. Scarce as hen’s teeth, to coin a phrase.
So it’s a great smoke and mirrors trick – let’s give folks a big tax break and ain’t we grand?
The proposal was first broached by Gerard when she was a commissioner and was beginning her campaign for mayor.
When the commission discussed it in January, the members agreed that a $15,000 exemption would be the figure to go with.
But when the idea came up again at the commission meeting April 4, the largesse figure had jumped to $25,000.
Because that is what Gerard wants and what Gerard wants these days Gerard gets. (And part of the “getting” is getting away with certain things – that may end with the latest Ethics Commission alleged violations that are on the table.)
Commissioner Andy Guyette wondered April 4 “why are we discussing this again? We agreed on $15,000 in January.”
City Manager Steve Stanton, who is joined at the hip with Gerard in their mutual aims (for now) for the City of Largo, chipped in with the explanation that “there’s been a lot of discussion about it, and we need to look at it again.”
A lot of discussion?
When? Where? Among whom?
Certainly not among members of the commission, hey?
I mean, Glory Be!, they’re not talking out of the sunshine are they? Certainly not in Largo, right?
(Nota bene – there are several ex-members of the commission who will tell you today, if you draw them down a dark alley and pledge undying secrecy – no names please, that the Sunshine Law was honored in the breach by one particular individual of recent vintage.
(In fact, in one instance, a commission member, drawn into a private conversation with one particular individual, responded to the individual’s importuning for backing on a particular issue with “I want to know what I’m doing here right now, allowing you to break the law.”)
And so it goes.
What happened without any doubt is that La Gerard ordered Stanton to put have an ordinance written allowing for a $25,000 figure.
Wiser heads prevailed April 4 and action will be delayed.
The Legislature, still in session, could take actions in regard to homestead exemptions that bear on any action by Largo.
Also, it is being run by the Finance Advisory Board (which is a joke, because Madame Gerard has this already packed with adoring sycophants).
Even so, if low income seniors wind up with a $25,000 break, it would save them in the order of only $8.90 a month.
That can’t be a big deal, even with those on tight budgets.
But bottom line, the whole thing is phony.
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