Here's Your Hat, What's Your Hurry?

Tampa City Councilman Charlie Miranda, speaking at the council's Aug. 9 afternoon session. Mayor Iorio had talked to council members about FY '08 budget cuts earlier in the day, and the week's newspapers were full of stories about the Tampa Bay Lightning purchase.

I'm for sports. I like sports. But, you know, they are a business. And when the governmental income goes down, we don't just stop there. We have to reduce that. We have to bite the bullet.

But when theirs go down, they come to the public, us, and they come to governments and we give them all they want, at the same time their payroll sometimes goes up 20, 30, 40 percent. And if they want to do something, let them do it on their own time, with their own money. I'm not anti- any business, but if the legislature had any guts, they will repeal all the sales tax exemptions throughout this great state and put everybody on the same even keel.

I'm dead tired of listening. I want to help the poor. Everybody wants to help the poor. But we are punishing them more based on income than anyone else. Half the people in this area can't go to any one of those venues because they don't have the money, and they are paying for that right for them to be here. What I'm saying is, the public is not going to forget.

Me, more than likely there will never be another election. But what I'm saying, those that want to stick around better understand that these sports venues that are draining you and continues to drain your money, that you can have to fix roads, to have a better playground, to have government be more responsive, the money is not going to be there. And they keep asking. And they keep asking.

Well, if they are going to ask me, I'm telling you now what the answer is. I didn't ask you to come, and I didn't ask you to leave. So I welcome you here. But if you want to leave, I'll help you pack.

Thank you very much, Madam Chair.