John Morroni is a likable guy. Both my wife and I like him on a personal level. What we don't like is his wasteful ways. In 2006, my wife and I contributed $200 to Mr. Morroni's re-election campaign. Since that time, it has become clear to us that Mr. Morroni represents special interests, and not the voting public. This is why I am running against Mr. Morroni in 2014.
Mr. Morroni has not yet announed whether he will seek re-election for the district 6 seat that he holds, but there is a second purpose to this website: getting the facts out about John Morroni. If you are a Morroni supporter, I hope you are willing to look at some facts. Let's start with these bullet points:
Higher taxes - Mr. Morroni has now voted two years in a row (2012 and 2013) to raise our property taxes well beyond inflation. He has voted for higher millage rates, a much larger county budget and to collect a stormwater tax which the county will just put in the bank. The county commission has no plans for how to use the money......they just know that they want more of your money.
All these tax increases come at a time when the middle class is being crushed by a lack of economic opportunity. Excess in government in not a Democrat or Republican value - excess is not in the interest of the average citizen.
Truly a flip-flopper - politician often get accused of being flip-floppers, but most have only flipped. They have never flopped, meaning changed a second time. Mr. Morroni has.
Regardless of views on fluoride in our drinking water, Mr. Morroni's voting record on this issue should give you pause. He voted to put fluoride in the water in 2003 and 2004. Twice he voted in favor of it. Then he voted to take it out of the water in 2011, and it was in fact removed from our water. OK, fine and well. People can change their minds. But the flop came when Mr. Morroni voted in November 2012 voted to put fluoride back into the water.
Mr. Morroni is thus an unprincipled flipflopper. His views on issues seem to be determined by which way the wind is blowing on any given day. If an issue important to you were to come up for vote, you would have to ask yourself: is Mr. Morroni going to be for it before being against it before being for it? The mind boggles.
Casinos, lobbyists and alcohol - Mr. Morroni was a state representative 1992-2000 before having to leave due to term limits. According to the non-profit and non-partisan Project Vote Smart, Mr. Morroni's last election campaign in 1998 received 44.3% of its contributions from these three major types of donors:
This trend continued in his 2000 campaign for Pinellas county commission, where Mr. Morroni received the maximum contribution allowed by law from Florida Jai-Alai Inc., The Palm Beach Kennel Club, the Florida Beer Wholesalers Good Government Committee, the Hollywood Greyhound Track, the Florida Harness Horse PAC, the Senior V.P. of Gov't Relations for Anchor Gaming (Gaming=Gambling), Florida Gaming Centers, Inc. Ocala, Miami Jai-Alai Florida Gaming, Florida Wholesale Spirits in Tallahassee....just to name a few.
- Gambling & Casinos (21.2%)
- Lawyers & Lobbyists (16.7%)
- Beer, Wine & Liquor (6.5%)
Many, many entities and people from outside the Tampa Bay area contributed large sums of money early to the Morroni campaign. Everyone in polticis understands the value of early money. The real question is: why did they contribute to a county commission race far way from their own county?
Lack of oversight - when Mr. Morroni was chairman of the Tourist Development Council in 2012, I presented him with evidence that contracts between Pinellas County and local chambers of commerce were not being adhered to. These contracts totaled in excess of $180,000 per year, and fell under Mr. Morroni's purview as chairman. When made aware of the situation, Mr. Morroni did nothing - he did not even respond to my e-mails urging him to take action.
Mr. Morroni continued to do nothing when the county administrator (an unelected county employee) altered the contracts after the fact to remove certain key requirements. These key requirement had been deemed so important at the time of signing the contracts that failure to adhere to them would result in disqualification from being able to recive future funds. It said so right in the contract. Yet now those requirements were simply removed. Does that make sense to you?
It is only in the last 10 years that Pinellas County has started to contract with chambers of commerce for "services". The chambers love it, because these contracts come at a time when chambers have had falling revenue and are increasingly irrelevant due to technological change. In essence, the elected officials are buying political support from the chambers of commerce. Do you want your tax dollars going to buying political support for your elected officials?
The contracts are sloppily written and unenforced precisely because they are mere fig leafs by which politicians justify their misappropriation of public funds. Mr. Morroni abdicated his oversight role to an unelected bureaucracy, and supported this vote-buying program.
Morroni tells businesses to invest.....but does not invest himself - candidates are required to file a so-called Form 6, which is a "Full and Public Disclosure of Financial Interests". Looking at Mr. Morroni's 2006 Form 6 and his 2010 Form 6, we can see that Mr. Morroni possesses no financial or business investments. None. Nothing.
Can Mr. Morroni really understand what it means to invest your own hard-earned money? To abstain from consumption in order to invest? What it feels like to risk a loss? Or incur a loss? I can, because I have. But this website is not about me, it is about John Morroni.
Morroni makes over $144,000 per year, saves zero - please also note that from Mr. Morroni's financial disclosure that he has zero in savings. That also means zero in retirement savings.
This total lack of savings is only noteworthy because Mr. Morroni has high income. Mr. Morroni will be 60 shortly after the 2014 election and it seems that his retirement plan is to live on income from the government the rest of his life. His lack of savings tells you a bit about his outlook on life.
Tax-and-spend politicians like Mr. Morroni only understand how to increase taxes so that they can dole out more largesse. You will never get well-paying jobs or a real economic recovery as long as you punish small businesses. We need elected officials who put the interests of the people ahead of patronage, empire building and power for the sake of power.
Endorsed tax-and-spend candidate in 2013 - in the 2013 St. Pete City Council race (District 4), Mr. Morroni endorsed Darden Rice over Carolyn Fries. He also gave Ms. Rice a monetary campaign contribution.
Mr. Morroni supported the person with almost no private sector experience and a far left agenda over a fellow Republican with a solid entrepreneurial background. Was that a good endorsement? You be the judge.
The underlying reason why Mr. Morroni supports Ms. Rice is that she is for rasising the sales tax by 1% in order to fund light rail, whereas her opponent Ms. Fries is not. Establishment Republicans just want tax dollars being spent on construction contracts, whether they are needed or not. Please be wary of any party that wants to take your money for things that make no sense.
Morroni's support for Ms. Darden Rice also raises this question: if Mr. Morroni will not endorse candidates that are not "establishment Republicans" like he is, then why should those fiscally conservative Republicans support Mr. Morroni?
Mr. Morroni has had some well-publicized health problems, and he has my empathy in dealing with those issues. However, you cannot give him a pass on account of his health, nor would he want you to. His health problems have not clouded his mind. Mr. Morroni has a long record of voting for more government, higher taxes and of accepting special interest money that he could have refused.
We need fresh perspectives in order to provide the conditions that create economic opportunities for all of our citizens. John Morroni is unlikely to provide those fresh perspectives.
Email relevant facts about John Morroni to facts [at] johnmorroni.com
Please include supporting documentation (articles, documents, etc.).
More to follow....
This site published by Tom Rask, business owner and resident of Pinellas County, FL.