You’ve Been Tapped to Pay For Our New Convention Center, Suckas!
Dear Out-of-Town Tourists:
Welcome to Miami Beach! Where you’re sure to enjoy lots of sand, sun, and surf.
Oh, but before you doff your shoes at the airport security checkpoint and allow your friendly TSA agent to treat you to a good groping, you’d best make sure you have a little extra cash on you, or an extra traveler’s check, or a higher credit limit on your card.
You’ll need it. We’ve just made the hotel bed on which you’ll rest your about-to-be-sunburned-as-red-as-a-lobster bodies a bit more expensive.
You see, on Tuesday night, a majority of those few of us who bothered to vote –
(because we’re not so dedicated to our right to vote as we like to make out we are; no doubt many of you probably hail from states or countries which put our voter turnout to shame)
– voted to make you our new sugar daddies and mamas.
Let me clarify.
We need a new convention center, see? It’s been around for decades, see? We’ve been advised by our local civic and business leaders that it’s time for a new and bigger one, that the current one just doesn’t rake in the volume of convention business that it should be raking in for one serving a municipality of our size.
But – problem is – to replace it would mean having to shell out upwards of a billion dollars or more and – gosh, yikes! – that’s not a sum one can easily dig into one’s pocket and pull out like lint. Not even Mitt Romney on a good day.
Like all other citizens of this state, if we Billion Dollar Sandbar denizens can get away with finding some other poor schmucks to pay for the things we want and crave (sports stadiums, infrastructure improvements, new convention centers), then, by golly, we’ll beat a pathway to the nearest voting precinct to do it!
Which we did on Tuesday night.
Maybe you already know that we don’t fork over income tax to our state capital in Tallahassee. No state income tax! Ain’t that peachy? Bet many of you aren’t so lucky.
And though we’ll pour dollars, hand over fist, into our state’s lottery, daily, weekly – even if it leaves us with precious little or no money to buy the kids pencils, crayons, and Elmer’s glue for their new school year – we’ll be damned if the government is going to pry that dollar bill out of our hands and make it theirs. For whatever purpose.
Now, true, we do pay property taxes on the homes we own. Then why can’t we raise revenue that way, you’re thinking? Perish the thought! We ousted our county mayor last year in a special recall election because he dared to do just that. And the rest of our local leaders? Why, they’re all such gutless wonders that they’d sooner pull out their toenails with pliers than commit such a political suicide attempt
Which means we’re left with no other option but hit up the people who won’t be here beyond next week to circulate petitions for recall elections, or demonstrate with banners outside our City Halls, or show up at polls to vote out said gutless wonders.
People who won’t be around after next week or so to bitch, belly-ache, and bemoan in our faces about the way their wallets and pocketbooks got roughed up during their vacations here – though they probably will after they’ve seen their hotel bills, taxi meters, or restaurant receipts.
Yes, you. You’re the poor schmucks we’ve elected to foot the bill.
But don’t think we’re ungrateful. Oh, no. We’d like to thank you in advance for the gleaming new convention center your dollars, euros, yen, and yang are about to make possible. Never mind that we don’t even have a blueprint of what the new center will look like, or that we’ve yet to select from the bidding process a developer who will build us one.
Never mind all the graft and corruption that will no doubt entangle whatever project we eventually settle on, once we’ve settled on one. Or the cost overruns that will inevitably ensue – this being the South Florida construction market, after all.
Never mind all that. That will come in its own time. What matters right now is that all you wonderful visitors will be blessing us with the gift that keeps on giving, because this monetary donation from you will be in perpetuity.
Unless and until someone comes along to suggest we don’t need to keep charging you extra anymore for your hotel stay and, so, how about a referendum to eliminate the bed tax?
(Do excuse me. I seem to have launched into a hysterical stream of laughter.)
But the chance of that happening is as remote as Miley Cyrus shearing off her hair. (Uh, on second thought, I’d better change that). Once enacted, we don’t eliminate tax surcharges. Because we’ll quickly find another purpose, proposal, or pie-in-the-sky scheme to sink your generous donation into. We’re good at that. We Americans like proposing stuff. Even if we can’t exactly think up a realistic way for how we’re going to pay for said stuff.
However, as long as there are easy marks, er, people willing to visit Miami Beach, get scalped by our taxi drivers, gypped by our over-priced restaurants, and nickle-and-dimed by our hoteliers, then there will always be an endless volume of contributions flowing through the pipeline to fund the myriad items on our wish list.
For all that, we thank you. And don’t forget to buy a post card or a flamingo-decorated shot glass as a souvenir of your stay here.
Leaving no stone unturned, we’ve hiked the prices on them, too.
I can’t help but imagine that if she were around to read her New York Times obit the other day, publishing stalwart Helen Gurley Brown might have gotten a big laugh from this line from staff writer Margalit Fox’s opening paragraph:
“She was 90, though parts of her were considerably younger.”