Voters in Miami-Dade County, Florida went to the polls last week and rejected the tax-hiking and corporate welfare policies of Mayor Carlos Alvarez, recalling him from office by the shocking margin of nearly 9 to 1. County Commissioner Natacha Seijas was also removed from office in what has become one of the largest recalls in U.S. history.
This stunning vote is nothing less than further indication of the American people’s rejection of government policies that tax the majority of people in order to redistribute wealth to the politically connected. Despite the fact that Mayor Alvarez had been granted sweeping new powers to clean up county corruption and budget problems only four years ago, the citizens of Miami-Dade County grew weary of the crony favoritism taking place at the expense of the taxpayers.
In 2009, according to the Miami Herald, Alvarez granted an 11% pay hike to his Chief of Staff, bringing his salary over $206,000 at a time when the Mayor was calling for shared budget sacrifices. Earlier in the same year, he had pushed through a deal to take on nearly $409 million in loans to help fund a new stadium for the Florida Marlins, complete with an aquarium backstop, a $2.5 million home run decoration, and one of the lowest attendance figures in Major League Baseball. This is the same team, of course, that hid its $50 million dollars in profit over the last two years from County Commissioners to avoid committing more of their own funds to the project.
The final straw for voters, however, was Mayor Alvarez’s push for a 12% property tax hike. This tax increase would have hit Miami-Dade residents in the gut at a time when they are still suffering in an area that was one of the hardest hit by the recent recession. To top it all off, this attempted tax hike came at the same time the Mayor agreed to increase pay and unfreeze benefits for unionized public workers.
Mayor Alavarez demonstrated time and again that he was more committed to securing handouts for public sector unions, shady baseball team owners, and personal friends than he was to closing the county’s $444 million budget gap. His proposed tax hikes would have further crippled the South Florida economy in the name of closing that budget gap, when simply asking for a few financial documents from the people for whom you are borrowing $400 million would have made tremendous strides in that direction. Miami-Dade voters’ stunning rejection of these public officials is proof that the American people are fed up with liberal tax and spend policies. Perhaps recall organizer Norman Braman should take his talents away from South Beach and help the rest of the nation accomplish what Miami-Dade County has.