By Ron Cunningham
I’ve seen lots of interesting things while riding the Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail.
Rattlesnakes and deer and gators, of course.
And very large adults on tricked out tricycles.
But you know what I’ve yet to see on Paynes Prairie? A billboard that says: “NO CREDIT? NO PROBLEM!”
Listen, cyclists have credit problems, too, you know.
Not to worry. Our state Legislature is on the case.
Next session, lawmakers will consider a bill to sell billboard space on Florida’s recreational trails.
I think it’s called the “Scenery? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Scenery Act.”
Oh yeah, and another bill would allow ads on school buses to boot.
“To me it’s a way to generate revenue without raising taxes or fees,” one of the sponsors, Rep. Bryan Nelson, R-Apopka, told the online news site Florida Current this week.
This shows how the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in our state government. Because we’re catering to two completely different markets here.
You want to sell tooth-decaying, obesity-promoting, high-sugar sodas, you’re going to want your ad on a school bus.
You want to sell spandex to very large adults on tricked-out trikes, you’ve got to be on the trail.
Either way, government gets its cut.
And, really, we’ve just scratched the surface here.
For instance, this week the Florida Supreme Court said the judiciary needs another $45.6 million to keep up with all the foreclosures and such.
Lawmakers can fork over the cash, but no good can come of that. The judges will just want more money when that’s gone.
Or they can get entrepreneurial about it.
Just thinking out of the box, I’m envisioning something like this posted outside judges’ chambers: “NO CASE, NO PROBLEM!”
And our 22-story state capital building can be seen for miles in every direction. Imagine what lobbyists would pay to put this on the roof: “GOT INFLUENCE?”
Because now that we’ve decided that taxes are the ultimate evil, anything else we do to fund government is, by definition, the lesser evil.
Senate President Mike Haridopolos won’t rest until the boys from Vegas get to open casinos here in Florida. It’s safer to squeeze money out of gambling addicts — at least while they still have some — than from voters.
Speaking of making vice pay, The New York Times reported this week that many states are raising alcohol taxes, “banking on the fact that people will simply pay more or drink cheaper brands.”
So drink up, folks. It’s practically your civic duty.
The point is, if you are going to run government like a business, you can’t be too picky about how you turn a profit.
They are already licensing brothels in Nevada. And let’s face it, the taxing potential of marijuana is such that legalization is only a matter of time.
It’s a brave new world of government enterprise out there, people.
What’s next? Privatizing politicians?
Oh, right. Been there, done that.
Ron Cunningham is editorial page editor of The Sun. Contact him at email@example.com or 374-5075.