Commission Candidate Michael Hartman Responds To Statement

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Below is the response from Candidate for District 2 County Commissioner Michael Hartman to the statement of Candidate for District 2 County Commissioner Ron Taylor. In the above video,  Hartman talks about his background, campaign platform and his vision for the future of Brevard County. The Brevard County Commissioner District 2 includes Kennedy Space Center, Merritt Island, Port Canaveral, Cape Canaveral, Avon by the Sea, Cocoa Beach, Snug Harbor, portions of Cocoa, Rockledge and Patrick AFB.

To the Voters of Brevard County:

For the last year, it has been my pleasure to meet with you and discuss your concerns and your dreams for the future of our County. In that time, I have always been very positive, explaining my philosophy regarding our County government and my position on the issues that we have discussed. I have purposefully avoided making any statements about my opponents, as I believe that you desire for each candidate to make you aware of what they stand for, so that each of you can make an informed voting decision.

SCD-POLITICS-435-4However, it appears that one of my opponents, Ron Taylor, has run out of ideas that explain his hopes and dreams for the County. Instead of concentrating on telling you why he believes that he should be your next Commissioner, he launched an unprovoked effort to smear my name and my reputation. My response to his misstatements is as follows:

I am a licensed CPA, but I do not offer CPA services in Florida. 

• If you go to the page that Ron referenced (1), he forgot to mention the title of the page, “What services require a State of Florida license?” This page reflects that a CPA licensed in another state cannot represent oneself as a CPA for the purpose of providing public accounting services in Florida.

• I have never held myself out to provide CPA services in the state of Florida.

• During my entire time in Florida I have worked in private industry, as a CFO, a COO, a company President, and as a development consultant. None of that involves practicing as a public accountant.

• I proudly state the fact that I have been a CPA for 32 years, and that my CPA license is current and active. Being current and active means that I take at least forty hours per year of continuing professional education courses in the accounting profession, and that I take a four hour ethics course every two years.

• My fellow Florida CPAs are aware of what I do and don’t do in Florida, and none of them have filed an ethics complaint against me over the last 21 years that I have lived in Florida. So who knows the rules better, Ron or my fellow Florida CPAs?

Cutting your taxes and zero-based budgeting.

• Cutting your taxes 5% per year for the next four years is not a huge goal. And there is no magic single cut that will reach that goal.

• I have the experience to make this happen because we proved at the County Housing Authority, where I have served as Chairman of the Board since September 2009, that you can cut staffing levels, decrease the operating budget, and INCREASE services.

• We did this incrementally, looking at our overall operations but also digging in to the details of every department and finding individual items, such as travel, to cut.

• Ron would like me to name departments and individual budget items so that he can spread fear among the County staff. I’m sorry, but I won’t play his game.

If Ron believes his own words that this is impossible, then why is he running for County Commissioner? What is his plan to improve our lives by letting us keep more of our money as opposed to paying it to fund County government?

• Zero-based budgeting, in my mind, means that we build the county budget by starting every department every year at zero. Then we start with the budgets of the basic “needs”, which are fire, police, roads, water and sewer, courts, libraries, and waste management. Once we set their budgets at the minimum funding needed to provide these essential services, we then tally up the bill to the taxpayer. Then, if there is still room to provide additional “needed” services without overburdening the taxpayers, we can move to the secondary needs. However, other than the eight departments mentioned above, there are no sacred cows in the budget. That’s how I reach the goal of cutting the budget and your taxes by 5% per year.

Is Michael Hartman a real Fiscal Conservative Republican?

• During the past 21 years, I have developed workforce and affordable elderly rental housing using the Section 42 (Internal Revenue Code) Housing Tax Credit program that was signed in to law by Ronald Reagan in 1986.

• This program is designed to encourage private investment for the provision of affordable housing, thereby reducing the burden on the federal government.

• The rental communities that I develop are financed by conventional lender financing and private equity investment.

• When I have used financing from a state, it has been provided as a second mortgage that must be paid back to the state.

As for my employment history, I have never been “let go” from any job. I have always left of my own free will to pursue better opportunities, and have always either been employed or had my own business without any breaks since 1977.

• That’s what a Fiscal Conservative Republican does – he works for a living.

To the voters, I’m sorry that we had to detour from the issues that are important to you. Maybe now we can return to discussing your concerns and your dreams for the future of our County. I think that’s a lot more important to you.

– Michael A. Hartman, Candidate for District 2 County Commissioner