Editor, The Beacon:

Our County Council needs to stop making our charitable giving decisions for us. All of the county tax-dollar giveaways need to be ended. Every group begging for our money has a cause and a story; however, none of those causes or stories justifies the forcible taking of someone else’s money in order to give it away to a so-called nonprofit.

Let the free market work. If a nonprofit is not valued by the community, it should be allowed to no longer exist. We need our county government to do a better job at taking care of its core responsibilities, and that does not include giving our money away to nonprofits.

We have overcrowded and crumbling roads, infrastructure-improvement needs, comp-plan mandates to be met, inadequate public-transportation options, littered rights of way and waterways, and other environmental issues that need to be addressed.

And, I must add, we cannot keep adding more burdens on our young people who are just starting out here. A young person starting out here, in many cases, will be paying as much as five to 10 times more for property taxes compared to what some of us older established folks are paying.

There are some who are pushing for more giveaways and higher property-tax burdens who literally pay no property taxes at all because of their special property-tax exemptions. Young hardworking people here are already facing an affordable-housing crisis; taking more from them for giveaways will only harm them worse.

And property taxes are just part of the problem. If a young person wishes to build or buy a new home in Volusia County, they will also be hit with a government-mandated impact fee of more than $9,200. And let us not forget that young renters pay property taxes through their monthly rental payments, and their landlords do not receive property-tax deductions like many of us established homeowners who have the benefit of Save Our Homes, which limits the annual increase in the assessed value of homesteaded properties to 3 percent or the change in the National Consumer Price Index (CPI), whichever is less, homestead exemption, and the other property-tax breaks offered.

The best way to help our hardworking young people thrive here is to pay them a livable wage, provide quality core governmental services, and keep their tax burdens low, and, as they start to thrive, allow them to make their own charitable-giving decisions. Our future depends on them, and they depend on us to do what is right.

All of us should be allowed to give as we can and as we wish to the charities of our choosing, and we should not have our money forced from our pockets and given to the charities of another’s choosing for any reason. I call on the members of the Volusia County Council to end all of the county tax-dollar giveaways.

Keith Chester



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