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GOP Commissioner Abrams’ vote against property tax rate hike called “despicable” by potential Dem foe

by George Bennett | September 24th, 2009



Monday night’s Palm Beach County commission vote for a 14.9 percent property tax rate increase is already emerging as a hot political issue — but not in the way you might think.

Republican Commissioner Steven Abrams’ vote against the rate hike was called “despicable, disgusting” and “unconscionable” today by potential Democratic challenger Pamela Goodman.



Abams and Commissioner Shelley Vana voted against hiking the tax rate from $3.78 to $4.34 per $1,000 of appraised value. Abrams said he favored a rate of $4.29 or lower.

Goodman, former president of the nonpartisan Palm Beach County League of Women Voters, has been weighing a 2010 challenge of Abrams for months but today said she’s not sure whether she’ll run. Goodman said she’s been working with the county Democratic Party to recruit candidates for Abrams’ seat and for other races.

Goodman accused Abrams of voting against the rate hike to score political points with voters.

“It was a despicable, disgusting vote….His vote was unconscionable for Palm Beach County,” said Goodman, who supported the $4.34 rate and said a lower level would require the county to make unacceptable service cuts.

“I do not think that it’s despicable to try to reduce the tax burden on our residents during these tough economic times,” Abrams said via cell phone from the county Supervisor of Elections office, where he was filing papers this afternoon to open a 2010 campaign for his District 4 seat.

Because of an overall decline in property values, the 14.9 percent rate increase will allow the county to collect roughly the same amount of money in 2009-10 as it is collecting this year. Many properties will see a drop in their tax bills. But many homesteaded property owners, whose appraisals have been relatively flat because of the state’s Save Our Homes law, will see a double-digit increase in their countywide taxes.

The countywide rate is separate from the rate paid for schools, municipal governments and special districts.

Coastal District 4, which includes Boca Raton and much of Delray Beach, was once a Republican stronghold. But Democrats now hold a 37.6-to-36.1 percent registration advantage. Abrams was appointed to the seat in March by Gov. Charlie Crist to replace Mary McCarty, who resigned in a corruption scandal and is now serving a 3-1/2-year federal sentence.



As Abrams opened his 2010 campaign, a potential GOP primary rival announced she won’t challenge him. Boca Raton Councilwoman Susan Haynie, a Republican who was a finalist with Abrams for Crist’s appointment, today ruled out a 2010 commission run after toying with the idea earlier this year.

“I will not be running for county commission,” said Haynie. “I think Commissioner Abrams is doing a very good job.”

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22 Responses to “GOP Commissioner Abrams’ vote against property tax rate hike called “despicable” by potential Dem foe”

  1. Lou Says:

    I think Pam Goodman is “despicable, disgusting” and “unconscionable” for using Abrams sensible vote as a platform to score political points for herself! This trick will surely backfire on her. Let’s just see how many readers agree with her nonsense.

  2. patricia Says:

    Goodman is obviously trying to be the first person in PBC election history to get a negative vote total.

  3. Gary Bokelmann Says:

    So, Ms. Goodman, when your fellow Democrat, Commissioner Vana, also voted against the tax hike, was that also “despicable, disgusting” and “unconscionable”? Or is schoolyard name-calling reserved only for Republicans who vote against tax increases?

    By the way, it’s nice to see how “nonpartisan” the League of Women Voters really is. For as long as I can remember, we’ve been told the League is the guardian of civil debate and a bastion of healthy democracy, dedicated to voter education and an informed citizenry. Just how does Ms. Goodman’s snarling help educate voters? Would it be too much to expect someone who headed this outfit to actually make an informed argument for her position?

  4. Sam Says:

    I’m a life long democrat but I won’t be voting for any elected official, county, city, school board, etc. that voted to increase millage rates or voted to increase taxes in any form.

    I have been disgusted with all elected officials during this “budget” season as they all seem to be oblvious of the plight of the local tax payor, the only class they seem to care about is the government worker and therefore they raised to taxes in order to continue to pay inflated salary, benefits and pensions promised during the bubble. The bubble has popped and the taxpayors cannot afford to continue to pay these incerased taxes.

  5. Daly Says:

    Ms. Goodman confirms what we thought all along of the League of Women Voters: Democrat Shill.

  6. Uncle Buck Says:

    I’m sure Ms. Goodman or her handpicked Democratic challenger for Abrams will campaign on a promise to raise taxes to maintain “essential” services. Can’t wait for that!

  7. Reuben Says:

    Don’t paint all Democrats with the same brush. I’m a Democrat, and I didn’t like the tax increase any more than my Republican friends. Goodman’s attitude is just as flawed as anyone else who thought it was a good idea to raise taxes at this time. I won’t be voting for her if she decides to run.

  8. Fed-Up Says:

    Looks like it time for the PBC League of Women Voters to be investigated.

    I want to know where this “non-partisan community organizing” taxpayer dollars are going!!!!!! This sounds like the ACORN of Palm Beach County.

    Are you watching this Mr. FBI….As the President of this organization, it’s possible Ms. Goodman could be sharing a cell with Mary McCarty.

    The time has come to start asking for a full blown investigation into the PBC League of Women Voters……

  9. Remainders: Things we didn’t post « PoliticsFLA Says:

    [...] Palm Beach Post: GOP Commissioner Abrams’ vote against property tax rate hike called “despicable” by potential … [...]

  10. Simon Says:

    This story is outrageous in so many ways. Why didn’t Ms. Goodman level the same criticism against Comm. Vana? Politics? Why didn’t the media ask Ms. Goodman this question? What about the items that are not being cut, like commissioner and administrator salaries. Why not? Isn’t that what leaders do, set an example for others in these trying economic times. I could go on, but why bother. It’s obvious what the motivation is by all involved.

  11. michael Says:

    Well I guess we know. Vote for the democrats and expect your taxes to double or triple so they can continue to pay for high salaries for government workers to drink coffee all day.

    Vote republican and face the horrors of less government employees who actually have to work every day to do the job they are paid for because the taxpayers actually keep there money for themselves.

    I think the democrats should make that their 2010 election campaign. Vote for us so we can double your taxes. Lets see how well that works.

  12. Charley Says:

    Good for him! This tax hike is “despicable, disgusting” and “unconscionable” as were those that voted FOR it! Just to keep government “workers” in thier positions to NOT do the jobs they are hired to do. We recently encountered such government workers not wanting to get off thier personal phone calls or stop thier computer solitaire game to assist a tax paying customer. How dare they be interrupted! That was the attitude we were given. Then in the end we now discover they did not give us correct information nor did they do the job they were supposed to have done. This was in the building and zoning department in case you are curious. I am tired of hearing the county complaining of “cut backs and lay offs”. One of two things is going on, they either still have too many workers for the needs OR the “workers” they have are slackers! Government jobs should not be entitlements and my taxes should not go toward entitling the lazy and nasty who do not display even an inkling of customer service! More taxes for a county that obviously doesn’t know the meaning of “excessive” is criminal!

  13. Billie Jo Swilley Says:

    Most folks have already said what I am thinking, “Ms. Goodman, herself, is despicable and disgusting for her arrogant attitude against JUST THE REPUBLICAN” and I would like to add that since she thinks it is such a good idea, she is putting the needs of a few citizens and many illegals ahead of the overworked AMERICAN TAXPAYER.
    Thank you, Steve, for doing what is RIGHT for your fellow Americans.

  14. FredJS Says:

    Commissioners Abrams and Vana cast their votes for the people of Palm Beach County over the special interests that smother the commision with requests for new programs and the unions who believe it is their right to a raise, regardless of the state of the economy. When taxes go up, people have less to spend on the things that create local economic activity and jobs. Broward and Martin Counties have actually reduced their budgets this year, each about 5% while the Palm Beach budget actually grew by almost 2% – while property values fell 11.5%. The only thing dispicable is the arrogance of the other 5 commissioners who seem to be awfully proud of themselves for a mediocre attempt at fiscal responsibility.

  15. richbrfl Says:

    Once again, the country, and county, suffer and the Dems “solution” is to raise taxes – no accountability!

  16. Charlotte Beasley Says:

    Kudos to Steve Abrams and Democrat Vana for standing up to the other Commissioner’s and voting to resist a property tax increase in vain. I am shocked and appaled at Pamela Goodman’s behavior in calling a tax increase resistance disgusting and despicable. I ran for County Commissioner against Burt Aaronson and was totally against the free spending of the Commissioners and the use of their discretionary funds which put us in the hole we are in now. This is the worst possible time to be raising the millage rate. We are now paying higher assessments to our homeowner’s association for all of the foreclosures who have not paid, now we will be paying higher property taxes as well. Why didn’t the Commissioner’s cut back on cultural events instead of raising the milleage rate?

  17. R. Cramer Says:

    THANKS MR. ABRAMS for your help, even if it could not achieve the goal of keeping taxes from Jumping Up like a kangaroo. We need men like Abrams in office, and he certainly has my support and that of my family. I note that Ms. Goodman does not seem to have complained about or insulted, Democrat Shelley Vana, who voted with Abrams. So it is quite clear that if anyone is Despicable here, it is Ms. Goodman rather than Mr. Abrams. Shame on Ms. Goodman, both for her Tax and Spend mentality and moreso for her venal partisanship. Bravo Mr. Abrams!, we need fiscal responsibility on the Commission, where responsibility is almost Extinct. We’re behind you all the way, Abrams, keep up the good work! Thanks also to Shelley Vana, to have voted against her own party line takes a Lot of Fortitude, my opinion of her has gone Way Up as well. RC.

  18. JGP Says:

    I think this is the first time that I have ever seen a politician describe someone trying to keep money in people’s pockets as “despicable”.

    At least Goodman is honest. Usually, politicians supporting tax increases hide behind comments like “We know people work hard for their money, but we had no choice but to raise taxes”.

    Not Ms. Goodman. She lays it right out there and is basically telling voters, “I don’t care what the economy is like, we need to keeping funding the government at all costs, so suck it up”!

    I hope Ms. Goodman runs. It will give those of us that are “despicable” and believe people already pay enough in taxes an easy choice.


  19. ALB Says:

    Thank you, Mr. Abrams and Ms. Vana, for your intellectual honesty and your courage to vote what you truly believe. Please continue efforts to trim spending rather than taking the easy road of tax hikes!

  20. Albert Shalhoub Says:

    At last someone who thinks that we should not raise taxes when the economy is doing so bad. We are at least a year until we will start moving again. With no real help from Washington we are really on our own.

  21. Iris Says:

    Congratulations to Commissioners Abrams and Vana for being the only ones on the panel who were willing to take some difficult steps, and remembered that they were responsible for OUR money. Businesses are having to take drastic action in this environment to stay afloat, as are the citizens of this county. Our elected officials should feel equally responsible. Several claimed to have their hands tied by union agreements – with unions unwilling to forego salary increases or ‘endure’ pay cuts. Fine – then cut some of the union jobs instead. The BCCC frittered away the summer with all kinds of budget exercises and then failed to act. Shame on the other five!

  22. Roberta Silfen Says:

    I agree with Abrams and VAnna – I appreciate their concern and views – I have noted that though my proprerty values have dropped my taxes are increasing – and my income has gone down as well. I appreciae what they are trying to do for me and others like me.

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