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Editorial: Constitutional officers must be realistic


Published:   |   Updated: June 10, 2013 at 04:26 PM

The issue: 2013-14 fiscal year budgets for constitutional officers.

Our opinion: With the county facing a $1.7 general fund revenue shortfall increases in budgets are not an option.

The season of political budget football is upon us. The constitutional officers, with one exception, have submitted requests for more dollars for the next fiscal year.

Apparently they have failed to understand that the county is still facing a revenue shortfall of $1.7 million.

The county has exhausted most, if not all, of the accounts that contained money that could be tapped for the general fund. There is a claim to raise pay because of low morale in one agency.

What about the low morale of the taxpayers who are scratching to survive the worst economic recovery in history?

Take a ride about town and look at the vacant stores that once housed vibrant businesses but now sit empty. Granted there have been some tough decisions made by government to meet their obligations to the citizens of Hernando County.

However, that pales in comparison to the tough decisions that the ordinary taxpayer has had to make. While we know this is only the opening gambit in the budget game it must be understood that the only real option left for county commissioners to meet the new demands is to raise taxes on an already suffering populace.

The recent insurance increases by Citizens Insurance have in some cases been as high as 30 percent, then pile on more government taxes and we have a recipe for disaster. People are forced to make decisions between necessities of life or paying their homeowners insurance and real estate taxes.

These are just the preliminaries, but the requesters of additional money should now get down to the task of trimming their expenses to lessen the burden on taxpayers.

We have not gotten into the individual requests as they remain fluid through the budget process. For now we suggest that the individual constitutional officers re-examine and make the changes in their budgets that we the people can afford during these challenging economic times.

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