Buddy Johnson doesn't have a problem collecting $132,000 in taxpayer money for his salary. In fact, the Hillsborough elections supervisor is running for another four-year term. But paying taxes himself —well, that's another thing.
Records show Johnson had not paid more than $11,000 in taxes on properties in Hillsborough and Sarasota counties — bills that, in some cases, stretch back several years, according to a story first reported Wednesday on tampabay.com, the Web site of the St. Petersburg Times.
Johnson was delinquent on $9,020 in taxes on a tract in Plant City and on a luxury condo in Sarasota. He owed another $2,052 in taxes on properties in Hillsborough he formerly owned. The tax collector has tried since September to recover the money. But Johnson did not reply to two letters over a period of seven months. The bill was then assessed an interest charge of 18 percent annually.
In a state where taxes are public concern No. 1, you would think a public official would be careful not to take with the one hand and stiff with the other, at least in an election year. But the supervisor has shown he is oblivious to appearances.