Republican Party of Sarasota Chair Joe Gruters agrees with Barack Obama on one thing. Elections have consequences.
And that’s about it.
In the latest email to “Conservatives & Republicans,” Gruters laments over the very first meeting of the “all-Democrat” Sarasota City Commission.
What raised Gruters’ ire was the board’s first order of business – something typical of Democrats, he believes – raising taxes on small businesses by 5 percent, the maximum increase allowed by law.
No wonder Democrats were so excited after the election, Gruters notes.
“There is nothing that brings joy to tax and spend liberals more than seeing new taxes placed on local business owners.”
Sarasota’s business tax hike comes on top of a series of “upsetting” GOP losses in recent municipal elections, leaving Gruters to wonder “if the Republican Party would ever try to compete in the City again.”
But Gruters will have none of that. He next throws down the gauntlet.
If Republicans don’t push for changes starting now, he says, they have no one to blame but themselves.
“We will keep everyone informed of the damaging votes the all-Democrat Commission makes — like hiking business taxes to the maximum allowed by law.”
In contrast, Gruters points out accomplishments of the Republican City Council, which kept Sarasota’s fiscal health on an even keel during years of economic crisis, without resorting to a ham-fisted tax hike.
Of particular note is the work by Republican Commissioners Joe Barbetta, Nora Patterson, Christine Robinson, Charles Hines, Jon Thaxton and Carolyn Mason.
“That is the sort of leadership the City needs and deserves,” he says.
And elections do have consequences, especially when raising taxes is first on a lawmaker’s to-do list. It certainly gives Republicans a huge head start on the next election cycle.
Consider that a warning, Sarasota.