Sales Tax Might Tip Citrus Given National Policy



The Friends to the Citrus County Libraries nonprofit organization is having their first mega sale at the Inverness Auditorium since the pandemic began. While free to enter today and tomorrow, the event allowed entry for $5 early on Friday which my wife and I happily paid to support the organization which is headquartered in the same building as both our businesses.


My favorite section is the history books but some of the best reads didn’t come from there. Under a different nonfiction section were several books by Malcom Gladwell.


Gladwell is a Canadian journalist who broke into the American mainstream with his bestseller from 2000 called The Tipping Point. He has since become an influential intellectual who can synthesize academic studies to both make connections few others can see while also explaining himself in a way many can easily understand.


The Tipping Point is an argument that any drastic change in society can be explained as a sum of their smaller parts. If you connect the dots closely enough, it becomes easy to explain why Hush Puppy shoes became popular in the 1990s after a decade and a half of irrelevance as easily as it could explain the precipitous drop in crime in New York City during this same time.


Movements have a point where everything “tips” according to Gladwell.

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I don’t cover the federal government at all in the Concurrent, but that’s a choice rather than an oversight. However the County Commission must govern locally in the context of what is happening nationally. Unlike the Concurrent, the Commission can’t choose to ignore federal issues.


A couple of key events happened this week in Washington. The first was last Monday when President Joe Biden, in an effort to get two bills that together are known as the infrastructure and Build Back Better Act passed by the Senate, said that the estimated $3.5 trillion bill would be at no cost.


Since it’s rightfully an easy statement to ridicule, let’s take a moment to see what he actually meant. The infrastructure part of the bill, roughly $1 trillion of the $3.5t, has been scored with offsetting revenue generating measures to not add to the national debt.


This type of thinking is hard for you or me to understand. Of course it’s going to cost something, and we know the infrastructure cost alone is going to be $1,000,000,000,000. These effects will be felt even more than bills that hypothetically would cost us money under this example because those bills are put on the national charge card so to speak while we will be paying this purchase off when it passes. The remaining $2.4t has not been properly scored for cost producing revenues yet.


The second story of the week which should catch the Commission’s attention was that key inflation indicators rose to a 30-year high. The cost of goods is already on the rise, primarily due to lingering supply chain problems, and these issues aren’t likely to abate anytime soon. It’s going to get worse before it gets better.


A third key event was that significant flood insurance rate hikes took effect yesterday as FEMA adjusted its rates. This hike will hit 90% of Floridians who currently hold flood insurance and be a massive burden to those who have never held it before but who now must under newly drawn maps.


These are a few of the cost increases coming down from the federal government that happened in just the last week alone. Our County Commission hosts a workshop on Nov. 9 to discuss increasing our local sales tax.


This is not a formal meeting, although it is open to the public, but the Commission can’t raise the sales tax via a Board vote - it must be done through a ballot referendum that requires a majority approval from voters. These have not garnered much public support in the past. After comments made in Tuesday’s meeting, however, it appears all five Commissioners favor the tax.


Gladwell’s full title of the book is not just “The Tipping Point” but rather “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference.” It’s easy to dismiss a local tax raise as a little thing, but add up all the little things and this will make a big difference, and not in a good way, to some of our most vulnerable residents.