By now you’ve heard the West Volusia Hospital Authority (WVHA) board voted to raise their portion of your property taxes by 50%.
Yes, that’s right, a full 50%.
Not 2% like your social security check. Not 5% because of a unique challenge or crisis. But raised your share by 50%.
What happened that they suddenly needed this additional taxpayer money?
Tax money raised from your pocket is distributed by WVHA to health services and other providers to serve the most vulnerable, those making less than about $18000 a year, a worthy goal.
It seems the number of people using the WVHA programs declined.
That should be a welcome sign, right? It meant these vulnerable people had other resources, like Obamacare, to ensure they received quality healthcare. Instead of celebrating, however, WVHA paid a marketing agency to find more people to use their taxpayer funded services.
The marketing agency was wildly successful in bringing in more patients. They were so successful, WVHA had a new problem: more people using their free services meant they needed more money!
The solution was easy (for them), they voted to raise their part of your property taxes by 50%! Now they are afraid even that won’t be enough so WVHA has tried to ‘turn back the tide’ by telling service providers there are no more funds!
By spending $100,000 of tax money for a marketing group, the West Volusia Hospital Authority successfully spent all the money gained from the tax increase. Even with $21K pulled back from the marketing agency, there will probably be claims of ‘we need more money’ before the next budget approval.
Sadly, this proves the point: when government takes your money they will spend every penny available. In this case, that included giving taxpayer money to a marketing firm to ensure your hard earned money was spent. Seems crazy, but it’s true.
And what percentage of the Volusia County population benefits from this 50% increase? Volusia County’s own records show less than 4 people for every 1000 residents. Should we ignore these 4 people? Absolutely not. Compassion on the less fortunate is a noble goal worthy of every person. But paying outside agencies to help spend tax money, and then approving a tax increase, isn’t compassionate on retirees, those working hard to keep ahead, and those who may be within just a month or two of being taxed back below the poverty line.
The WVHA purported goal to “bring more resources home” is an inefficient and horribly expensive plan. So, when WVHA comes back for another tax increase, should your representative approve it?
My position: I will appeal for responsible spending that avoids looking for people to give tax money to. There is no compassion in a steep property tax increase. I want you to KEEP more of your money to pay for the services you need. That does not preclude helping others. In fact it will make it easier. We will talk about that in this series.