Senate Bill 686 and the Cost of Corruption

spiral staircase

by Margaret Blank*…….

I saw this news item while browsing the web: Almost every top official in Texas city arrested in federal corruption case. It really got me thinking.

Here’s a terrific editorial on Florida’s “Corruption Tax”. Monroe County taxpayers have most definitely fallen victim to this. The Acevedo scandal cost us over $400,000 – and that only came to light because of a courageous whistle-blower, who paid a steep price for doing the right thing. Now another $20,000 has gone missing and the school board is wondering why employees are reluctant to come forward and assist in the investigation.

What about that $49 million over-run on Cudjoe Regional? And Carruthers’s proposed “tax shift” to force county-wide taxpayers to shoulder the burden of the County’s run-away fire and EMS costs? How about the $38 million over-run on the county’s other capital projects? Why are Monroe County’s costs always so consistently high? They’ve got a litany of excuses and justifications they cannot support with verifiable facts. Why do Monroe County taxpayers consistently pay more than they should? And why is that burden not distributed equitably? Is corruption a contributing factor? It certainly seems plausible.

Sen. Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) has introduced a bill to fight the “corruption tax”. So far, it’s looking good. Here’s more information about it.

I sent Sen. Gaetz a thank you note.

Thank you so, so much for sponsoring SB 686, and thank you for your persistence in pursuing it. Florida taxpayers very much need this. Fraud and waste not only cost money but public confidence in government. It creates a downward spiral. When corruption is allowed to continue undetected and unpunished, people become more and more alienated, which only allows the problem to fester and worsen. I am glad that you are committed to breaking that cycle.

I am the former General Manager of the Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District, and I am very concerned about how the sky-rocketing cost of government is affecting my friends and neighbors in the Keys. I cannot help but think that corruption is a possible contributing factor. It’s getting more and more difficult for working people to make it there, and I know many people feel uncertain about the future. I write a blog to help out where I can and I gave your bill a shout out. It is something that people need to know about. I very much support it and I urge others to do so as well.

If you like what Sen. Gaetz is doing, please let him know.


More from Margaret Blank at


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5 thoughts on “Senate Bill 686 and the Cost of Corruption

  1. is it not troubling to see that $1,811 is attributable to the school aspect of my property tax bill? and I have no kids either that use the school district for anything! and no I disagree vehemently with the hillbillery “IT DOES “”NOT”” TAKE A VILLAGE”
    in light of this new 20k fiasco I want to restrict my school related payment until the 20k is solved and resolved. anyone know of any method whatsoever? tia wjm

  2. Well, I think the whole community benefits from well-educated citizens. So maybe we disagree on that aspect.

    But it is frustrating that our tax money, which is supposed to pay for needed services, is used instead to line somebody’s pockets. I don’t know what the “corruption tax” actually costs us, but I’m sure it’s a bundle.

    Hoping this bill passes.

    1. mb maybe the community benefits maybe not but surely not on the dime of someone not using the system. that is just ‘misguided’ to be kind. why in the world need I pay for someone elses kid? let the parents pay for their own children….I know my parents did and payed for me as I have done for my son in private schools far superior to the common core gush the spill out today. soon the children will scratch their heads trying to find ‘florida’ on a map. but I digressas…and say I’m not that’s not responsible for the education of someone elses child…no the parent is period.
      perhaps by your philosophy you also wish to pay criminals to stay out of jail like the proposal in the Washington dc commission? sheesh! where is ben franklin when ya need him?

  3. Wonder how or why there is a free pass for “water management entities “. Heaven help us if that somehow applies to the FKAA , since they are appointed by the governor, not elected .
    Still no resolution by the governor on the FKAA’s phony Bob Dean Key West residency for instance. Now THERE’S an obvious free pass.

  4. You are very right about FKAA’s “free pass”. It’s not just the Bob Dean issue, which seems to have gone down the memory hole, it’s the appointment of Richard Toppino. Of eleven applicants they chose the one who’s family business has and is now doing millions of dollars of business with the agency he’s supposed to oversee. Toppino & Sons has been acting as a subcontractor on recent projects. That’s how they get around the direct conflict of interest issue.

    There are others in Tallahassee who are very focused on tightening the rules on special districts. That’s been ongoing. There have been a few proposed rules this session.

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