As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a bit of a Facebook vigilante. And I noticed today that former County Commissioner Neil Combee, he of the “Who is John Galt?” button at Politics in the Park, was prattling on about how “[Alex] Sink will support the growth of government, even as the private sector suffers.” That’s a bad thing, he says.
Now, vote for whomever you want — the chirpy Bank of America titan or the bullet-headed Medicare fraud. I don’t care much. Sink is marginally better in my view, but what do I know? All of Florida’s problems will remain the same, and nobody has an answer to them. That’s because they’ll take decades to unwind because builders built us into oblivion. Florida’s going to become divided between two types of people — those who owned homes before 2002 and those who didn’t. (I exaggerate, but only a little.)
However, I would like to point out that the Polk County Commission’s budget during Neil Combee’s tenure grew from $212 million in 1988 to about $1 billion when he left in 2004. For those keeping track at home, that’s a quintupling. With a five. County government grew by $800 million under Neil Combee’s watch. One could buy a lot of hot dogs for roasting in Galt’s Gulch with that amount of money. Neil was a tax and spend Republican. Period.
Part of that came from the package of gas taxes, utilities taxes, and impact fees Neil supported in 1999. It was much needed. And I could make many arguments about accounting rules and how utilities and garbage funds pay for themselves through ratepayers and how investing in cops can reduce crime, etc. etc. But Neil and his buddies don’t ever bother to make those distinctions when talking about anyone else’s efforts at governing. So why should I?
Rather, let me just say that Neil Combee is exhibit number one why no one should take anyone calling themselves a “fiscal conservative” or “anti-goverment conservative” remotely seriously. They’re laughing at you when you do. Believe me, I’ve heard them. And the only time Atlas will ever shrug in relation to Neil Combee is when someone asks him why Neil raised and spent so much public money.