Friday, May 25, 2018
Editorials

Waiving impact fees will only make Hillsborough roads worse

Hillsborough County did a bad job last decade managing its explosive growth, and now the commission chairman, Ken Hagan, would compound the damage by waiving fees that new residents pay for the congestion they add to the road network. This is an irresponsible idea that commissioners should reject.

Hagan is proposing to waive transportation impact fees for a year or two as a means to spark new construction. The fees are charged to new housing and commercial developments, and are meant to help offset the impacts that growth has on the transportation system. The fees for homes can reach $2,000, depending on size and location. Commercial buildings have a sliding scale, too; drive-in banks, for example, which attract lots of traffic, are charged more than day care centers.

The fees draw a reasonable nexus between development and the impact it causes, and they protect existing taxpayers by not shifting the entire financial cost for new roads onto residents who are already here. Hagan's idea combines bad planning with tax shifting. Hillsborough already has billions of dollars in unfunded transportation needs — in part because commissioners have gone down this road before and given new developments a free ride.

Hagan argues that the short-term costs are dwarfed by the value of an expanded property tax base. Well, sure — but so what? By that logic, why not eliminate impact fees entirely, including those for parks, schools and the fire department? The county has already cut fees and instituted property tax breaks to attract new development. And modest user fees for roads are hardly a deal breaker in an environment of historically low interest rates and in a county where market values have dropped 40 percent over the past four years.

Commissioners agreed to study Hagan's idea and reopen the discussion in June. This is nothing but a recipe for making Hillsborough's roads even worse. And it perpetuates the mentality on this board that residents can get something for nothing. The commission should reject the proposal and start thinking more seriously about how to give this community a competitive edge.

Comments
Editorial: Filling Rocky Point lagoon to build townhomes is an empty-headed idea

Editorial: Filling Rocky Point lagoon to build townhomes is an empty-headed idea

One of the worst ideas in a long time in the field of urban planning received a blessing this month when the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission approved a land-use change for a project that calls for filling three acres of water insi...
Published: 05/25/18
Editorial: Trump right to cancel North Korea talks on nuclear weapons

Editorial: Trump right to cancel North Korea talks on nuclear weapons

Regardless of the reason, the cancellation of the U.S.-North Korea summit to address Pyonyang’s nuclear program is hardly the worst possible outcome of this high-stakes diplomatic gamble. President Donald Trump was unprepared, North Korea’s Kim Jong ...
Updated: 1 hour ago

NFL kneels before the altar of profits

The owners of the 32 National Football League teams sent a wrongheaded and, frankly, un-American message to their players Wednesday: Expressing your opinion during the national anthem is no longer permitted."A club will be fined by the League if its ...
Published: 05/24/18
Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Legislation that waters down the 2010 Dodd-Frank law and was sent to President Donald Trump this week is a mixed bag at best. Some provisions recognize that Congress may have gone too far in some areas in the wake of the Great Recession to place new ...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/24/18

Another voice: The chutzpah of these men

A new phase of the #MeToo movement may be upon us. Call it the "not so fast" era: Powerful men who plotted career comebacks mere months after being taken down by accusations of sexual misconduct now face even more alarming claims.Mario Batali, the ce...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/23/18
Editorial: Candor key step to restoring trust at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute

Editorial: Candor key step to restoring trust at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital has begun the important work of rebuilding trust with its patients and the community following revelations of medical errors and other problems at its Heart Institute. CEO Dr. Jonathan Ellen candidly acknowledges...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/23/18
Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Big Sugar remains king in Florida. Just three of the state’s 27 House members voted for an amendment to the farm bill late Thursday that would have started unwinding the needless government supports for sugar that gouge taxpayers. Predictably, the am...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

This is music to the ears. Members of the Florida Orchestra will introduce at-risk students to the violin this summer at some Hillsborough recreation centers. For free.An $80,000 grant to the University Area Community Development Corp. will pay for s...
Published: 05/17/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

In barely six weeks, President Donald Trump has gone from threatening to impose $150 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods to extending a lifeline to ZTE, a Chinese cell phone company that violated U.S. sanctions by doing business with Iran and North K...
Published: 05/17/18