There is a lot of money taken from Volusia families to fight the war on poverty and help those in need. Is it being spent wisely? And truly trying to be a hand up instead of just a handout?
Currently Volusia County residents have help available through:
Florida Discount Drug Card
Emergency Financial Assistance for Housing Program
Florida Health Care Access Program
Temporary Cash Assistance
Florida Department of Elder Affairs
several Disability Benefits and Programs
several Florida Community Action Agencies,
numerous Florida Social Services and Public Aid programs
A quick Google search reveals pages of other government services available through the State of Florida in Volusia County.
And this doesn’t even count the many non-profit organizations that are helping.
Each of these government organizations lives off your tax dollars. And comes begging for more on a regular basis. If government taxing and spending could solve the problem it would have been done billions of dollars ago. Sadly, when a program appears to be effective in reducing the demand for services, government steps in, not to take credit, but to get more people dependent on their services!
A perfect example of this is the West Volusia Hospital Authority. They had decreasing numbers of patients using their taxpayer funded services for the poor. Did they celebrate the taxpayer savings and keep the money for a rainy day? Of course not! They spent taxpayer money to hire a marketing agency to get more people to use their free services. It was so successful they had to raise your property taxes by 58%! And now that money is running out (see the previous blog post for more details) Now Barb Girtman is in a campaign to do to all of Volusia County what she has saddled tax payers with in West Volusia.
Let’s stop throwing money at problems by just adding more to the ‘tax and spend’ philosophy. Volusia County residents can set a new standard for real compassion. You are confronted with the growing homeless and poor families every day. You see it all around you and want to help those really in need.
The truth is, our current government solutions are not reducing their numbers they are adding to them. Word is out that panhandling in busy intersections and free handouts with no accountability is all legal and acceptable in Volusia County.
That good news attracts more takers and leaves the working-poor families and individuals, with real needs who are willing to work their way out of their circumstances, wanting. It also puts our elderly and those genuinely unable to work, at risk. Do the working poor have a path up or are they held down by a growing tax burden and obscene government spending?
What can you and I do?
First, demand the elimination of duplicate government functions. This will save the overhead costs of multiple agencies trying to solve the same problem. Instead of hiring staff to duplicate what another agency is already doing, let’s train them to properly refer to other agencies.
Second, let’s help these people who truly want help, not just a handout. And let’s add some accountability to help them make progress. If they choose to not make progress (completely different from those who for mental or physical health reasons are incapable), we, as a community, need to bow out. Supporting those who can’t work is one thing, supporting those who won’t work is completely different.
Third, let’s stop wasting money advertising that Volusia County is a great place for giveaways. Taxpayers are compassionate and caring, but we shouldn’t be burdened with doing more just because of that reputation. Stop Barb Girtman and her socialist views that are hammering tax payers already struggling to make ends meet.
I believe in goal oriented assistance. What’s that? It’s simply helping people move up in the world. Most government programs are merely handouts that can make the people who get it even more dependent on the government. That means an ever increasing amount of your tax dollars will always be required to fill the need government giveaways create.
Let’s examine how we give assistance, not just what we give. Let’s investigate and learn from non-profit agencies who are working directly with the poor and homeless, over long periods of time, with measurable success. This election cycle you have GREAT choices on the ballot for the West Volusia Hospital Authority: Dr. John Hill, Webster Barnaby, and Brian Soukup. Vote for these men to end corporate welfare and restore the reliability of our understaffed Emergency Medical Services.
Let’s help those truly in need and teach them to fish, instead of just giving them a fish sandwich. That will only insure a growing population of homeless in our area. A population we will never be able to build enough shelters to house.
We will take this up in the next two editions of Volusia Voices. Until then, let me know what you think.