Initially we should state that the opinion of this organization is that many non-profits are much needed, even essential to a sustainable and civilized community. So, it is NOT the purpose of this article to criticize any non-profit. But we did think we should bring it to the Martin County taxpayer’s attention that the county does and has for some time given our tax dollars to a few non-profits. There is a list. Currently there are 20 non-profit organizations on that list.
This does beg some philosophical questions. Does this mean the Board of County Commissioners is creating “winners and losers” in the local non-profit world? Should the Board be giving taxpayer dollars to ANY non-profit? Is this where the citizens of Martin County intended our money to go? Especially since the county still has a $600M backlog of maintenance and capital improvements. What if my tax dollars are going to a non-profit I don’t believe in? Or conversely what if I want my tax dollars to go to a non-profit NOT on the list? We are not sure any of these questions can be unequivocally answered, but we are sure that they should be asked. At the very least it should be well known that charities are receiving our charity…whether we like it or not.
We’ve been told that it doesn’t amount to much money. Well, everything is relative. But considering our backlog (which is not much heard of as of late, but it is still there) $700,631.91 could be used for something that benefits the entire county. Say a park or a pothole. Throw it towards septic to sewer! And let’s keep in mind that it is $700,631.91 this year. Add up all the money given over the years and you might be talking about real money.
Understand also that these non-profits all get additional money from other sources. And, they do their own fundraising. In fact some of those other sources involve dipping back into your pocket a second, third and even forth time. Many of the non-profits on the county’s list get dollars from the state of Florida…your money again. One on the list gets money from SIX taxpayer funded sources!!!!!! And some of them get money from a taxpayer funded source that gets money from a taxpayer funded source. No kidding.
To complicate things further, a taxpayer can see how the public funding of non-profits can become a political hot potato. After all, politicians pick and choose the charities on which to bestow their blessings. How will it look for the elected official if he or she decides to no longer fund a non-profit on the list? Seems like he or she would have little choice but to maintain every non-profit on the list indefinitely or risk backlash from supporters rallied to publicize the fall from grace of which ever non-profit had the bad luck to face a cutback of county tax dollars. An unintended consequence no doubt overlooked when the Board of County Commissioners was feeling generous.
So ask yourself these questions:
- Do you mind someone else giving your money to charity?
- Do you mind if they choose which charity?
- Do you mind if they give your money to the same charity 6 times in the same year?
- Do you mind if this goes on in perpetuity?
At some point you might not feel so charitable.