Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown is in the enviable position of approving a tax hike that he did not create. The first democrat Mayor of a North Florida city in over a decade and a half, Brown ran on a platform of no tax increases and a redesign of local government that would make it more efficient.
Voters, despite a wealth of democrats running for the City Council did not elect members of Brown’s party to the majority. Instead republicans control the council 14 to 6. Half of which are serving in their first terms on the council and thus learning the ropes just like Brown. By the way, Brown will make the fourth Mayor in a row who has not served on the city council and the third Mayor who has held no elected public office before becoming Mayor.
The Jacksonville City Council, which represents everyone from the Beaches to Baldwin, voted to raise property taxes and give money to charities. There are 14 republicans on the Council, theoretically, these staunch members of the party of Lincoln voted for John McCain in 2009 and Mitt Romney in 2012. But they did something that is anathema to conservative doctrine. They raised taxes, and gave away tax money to nonprofits with left leaning tendencies.
True, the 14% tax hike is only worth about $70.00 a year to a home worth $100,000. And many home homeowners with homes worth less than that will see almost no tax hike because of the homestead, veterans, and senior citizen exemptions. Raising taxes is still raising taxes.
Mayor Brown, a democrat is opposed to any tax hike. Although fees on park usage and every other city usage fee has gone up substantially under Brown, the irony of a democrat being cast in a favorable tax light puts an interesting storyline to the relationship that voters have with their local politicians.
This is not to say that Brown will have an easy time of it going forward. His pension reform plan has been tossed aside by the Council and every other expert on reform in the city. His new City Council Liaison has only recently gotten to work. His relationship with Sheriff John Rutherford is anything but cordial. Several Council members are calling for the head of Brown’s top Lawyer, General Counsel Cindy Laquidara, complaining that she has given him, and them, bad advice.
Add to this a Navy ship runs into the Mathews Bridge and the Jaguars continue to ask for $43 million dollars after their 4th losing season and an opening 0 and 4 record.