This past Friday, I was honored to speak at a conference hosted by state Rep. David Santiago. The theme of the conference was “One Volusia,” and it focused on strengthening our county through economic synergies and unified economic planning. This conference was great, and I believe Rep. Santiago is really onto something big. But what I personally took away from this event was something that I already knew in my heart and saw evidenced by the numerous upcoming projects detailed at the meeting: Volusia County is overflowing with committed and innovative people that want nothing more than to see our county prosper, and who have the skill sets to successfully accomplish this goal.
Because of these amazing citizen leaders, Volusia County currently stands on the edge of countless exciting opportunities for our future. Our builders countywide are planning twice as many new projects this year as they were last year, including a Hard Rock Café and two new beachside hotels; our hotel occupancy tax revenues are up by double digits because tourists are again flocking to our beaches; and Daytona International Speedway is expanding in ways we’ve never seen. Meanwhile, our entrepreneurs and universities are creating innovative new ideas that could literally launch our county into the next millennia as a beacon of scientific advancement and technological achievement.
Given this extraordinary bounty of opportunity, I believe the proposed 9 percent property tax increase is a step in the wrong direction. The goal of our public policy should be to empower our job creators, to inspire our innovators and to foster a society where businesses are free to invest in their companies and their communities as they see fit. This in turn will encourage risk taking and will stabilize the local economy.
I do not support this tax increase because at my core I believe that higher taxes do not accomplish any of these goals and are in fact detrimental to these pursuits.
Our property appraiser tells us that property values are up. Collectively, we can see the light at the end of the recession tunnel and it is within our grasp! But as a community, we must continue to work hard and fight for economic prosperity. Higher taxes only make this goal harder to achieve. I was elected to office on the singular promise that I would make tough decisions to help Volusia County get back on its feet and by opposing this tax increase, that’s exactly what I intend to do.
Denys, of New Smyrna Beach, represents District 3 on the Volusia County Council.