So who or what will get whacked?
Everyone is dying to know.
Will HBO’s Tony Soprano fall in tonight’s series finale?
Will property taxes get the ax in next week’s special session of the Florida Legislature?
It’s the only two things anyone’s talking about. Well there is Paris Hilton heading back to jail. But that’s Hollywood.
One of the greatest TV shows of all time and the debate over saving homes while paying for services have a lot in common.
Over the years, the public has come to love the Sopranos’ lead character played by James Gandolfini. The fictional Jersey mob boss has become a hero despite the unthinkable.
He’s had a dozen goomahs, suffocated his nephew and cheated people out of money. Tony Soprano is nothing more than an extortionist who justifies his actions on Dr. Melfi’s couch every week. Yet we find ourselves rooting for him.
“You may not love me but you will respect me!” Tony said in the first season back in 1999 to Chris Moltisanti, the nephew he ended up suffocating in the final season.
Well, Philly Leotardo has lost respect and Tony is holed up with an AK-47 at his side.
Local county and city governments such as Bonita Springs, the sheriff’s offices and local fire districts have to be feeling like Soprano without the gun. The family in Tallahassee is trying to pinch them.
It’s like being taken to the mattress yet the local organizations don’t have a fight in this war.
And it looks as if no one will be getting a pass. A new $31.6 billion tax cut proposal rolled out Friday by Republicans would eliminate $7.1 billion for schools and $3.1 billion from taxing districts that support hospitals, water management districts and children’s services.
No one appears to be safe from the meat grinder. After years of “taxing,” which means the same in the mob and in real life, the new Don in the state, Charlie Crist, wants all the spending to end.
He wants to be the hero. He may end up being the villain.
Cutting taxes may save a few homes and make it easier on the working class, but what if you’re not working?
If the state cuts funding to cities, counties, schools and fire districts, the first cuts will be jobs.
Crist told the state firefighters’ union this past week that jobs wouldn’t be in jeopardy. But if there isn’t money to pay them, what will fire districts eliminate: The hoses and the axes?
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office is asking for close to a 16 percent budget increase for next year. It sounds out of control. But with population, crime and the jails overcrowding, the increases are unavoidable.
So would you rather have to pay property taxes or would you rather have crime out of control? Maybe Tony Soprano will move his operation to Florida soon.
So here are my predictions: Tony will get whacked and property taxes will survive.
The reason is that in the end, there are only two guarantees in life: Death and taxes.
E-mail Tom Hanson at email@example.com