Emergency Services Surtax – It’s a Shift Alright

New Monroe County LogoI want to make a brief point about the sales tax.  Key West is the largest generator of the sales tax in the Keys – by far.  Key Largo is second.  The two areas are actually very close when it comes to what they contribute to the county.  And that is because Key West is incorporated and Key Largo is not.  Key West gets a share of the sales tax directly from the state.  Whatever is spent in Key Largo is up to the discretion of the county – and you know how that goes.  Key Largo really doesn’t have much say in how the money it generates is spent – especially because of its weak representation on the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC).

I put this table together together to compare the proportion of the Emergency Services Surtax that is generated in each area versus what each area would receive based on their expenditures.

ESS generated vs received

Unsurprisingly, the area served by Monroe County Fire and Rescue would be the big “winner” – receiving 25% more than it generates.  Key West is the big “loser” – receiving back 15% less than it generates.  Key Largo, which is served by an independent fire and ambulance district, is the second big “loser” – receiving back 8% less than it generates.  The other three entities more or less break even.

It’s easy to see why the county proposed this.  They are the only ones who benefit from it.  What’s really hard for me to understand is why Heather Carruthers is the commissioner who proposed it.  This is so detrimental to her own district, Key West.

Of course, that’s never stopped her before but I’m just very curious.  Why is she always so anxious to divert so much tax money to the unincorporated Lower Keys?  Does she secretly live there like Bob Dean?

The state tracks the amount of sales tax generated by zip code.  I used that information to determine the percent generated by each area.  Here’s my original analysis.

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