Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Protect Children Amidst Tax Cut Plans

Letter to Tampa Tribune, sent May 15, 2007.

I don't agree with everything in the Tribune editorial (Sensible Tax Plan Emerges That Florida Voters Will Buy, May 15) but I wholeheartedly agree with one clause: "find compromises to prevent drastic cuts in services." Amid all the talk favoring cutting taxes, and all the talk complaining about the rising costs of homeowners insurance, gas, and health care, we have heard precious little about the services that local governments provide.

As one who has been in the thick of decades of advocacy efforts to improve services for children and families in Hillsborough County, I fear that the tax cuts the legislature is about to force upon the county will set us back significantly.

Because the state was not doing an adequate job of supervising and monitoring centers and homes that take care of the children of working mothers, the people in Hillsborough County pushed for the right to take over child care licensing. While that service costs money, it is well worth it, both for the mothers in the work force and for the children, the next generation of citizens.

Because the state was not adequately protecting children from abuse and neglect, the people of Hillsborough County decided to invest tax money in services of parent training, counseling and mental health services for children and families. Our tax money is well spent on such services, through the Hillsborough County Department of Children and Families and the Children's Board of Hillsborough County.

Instead of saying, "Once agreement is reached on how to cut taxes, it will be easier to assess the impact on cities and counties . . .," the Tribune should be saying "Once we assess the impact on Tampa and Hillsborough County, we will see that taxes should not be cut but should be equitably levied."

Alvin W. Wolfe

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