Sept. 4, 2020 by David Silverberg
It is a rare moment nowadays when Democrats and Republicans can agree on anything–but it has actually happened in Collier County.
Yesterday, Sept. 3, the chairs of the Collier County Democratic Party and Collier County Republicans issued a joint statement “condemning the vandalism and theft of political signs. Not only is it unlawful, it is disrespectful and anti-democratic.”
The statement is signed by Annisa Karim, the county Democratic chairwoman and Russell Tuff, the Republican chairman.
“As the election gets closer, many of us become more passionate about the candidates we support,” says the statement. “That’s true for us, and it’s true for our neighbors. The beauty of the First Amendment to our Constitution is that it protects everyone’s right to free speech—theirs and ours!”
Reports of lawn sign theft, removal and vandalism appeared throughout the month of August.
The signs of Jim Molenaar, county candidate for clerk of the court, were defaced and when he personally confronted the vandal in a parking lot, the vandal fled.
Rep. Byron Donalds (R-80-Immokalee), Republican congressional candidate in the 19th Congressional District, had his signs in the parking lot of the Seed to Table market defaced with racial slurs; Donalds is African American. In his case an arrest was made of Jeffrey Rouse, 40, after Rouse went on a racist rant against an African American woman in a video that went viral. Arrested following a 100 mile-per-hour chase by police, Rouse was suspected of defacing of Donalds’ signs.
Drew-Montez Clark, also African-American and a Republican candidate for Donalds’ Florida House seat, also had his signs vandalized with racial slurs.
Individuals have also reported sign thefts and disappearances in letters to the editors of local newspapers.
The sign vandalism and thefts mostly occurred during the primary races but passions are expected to rise as the general election approaches.
The joint Democratic and Republican Collier County party statement concludes: “Let’s decide the election at the ballot box!”
Mutual endorsements in the 19th and 17th
Two Democratic congressional candidates have endorsed each other and are planning mutually supportive activities.
Cindy Banyai, the Democratic congressional candidate in the 19th Congressional District and Allen Ellison in the 17th District issued their mutual endorsements yesterday, Sept. 3.
Banyai is facing Byron Donalds. Ellison is taking on incumbent Rep. Greg Steube (R-17-Fla.), a vocal and strident supporter of President Donald Trump.
While the endorsement announcement did not list any actions the candidates would be taking together, they are discussing mutual events and activities, according to Banyai.
Rooney dissents from Trump payroll tax order
Rep. Francis Rooney (R-19-Fla.), yesterday, Sept. 3, issued a two-tweet thread opposing Trump’s executive order deferring payroll taxes for federal employees. Trump’s opposition to the payroll tax threatens the Social Security program.
“The employee portion payroll tax deferral is a reckless idea that will put many employees in jeopardy for the deferred liability when it becomes due, since they will have already spent the deferred amounts,” Rooney stated in his first tweet. “This is truly an unworkable idea and can only result in more disastrous policy. Deferred amounts will either be forgiven or reimbursed by the federal government or worse, employers will be required to pay them,” he added in the second.
Trump has called for a national payroll tax cut or deferment of 6.2 percent. The action would severely impact the Social Security program, which is funded through the tax.
Congress, including many Republican members, is unwilling to pass the cut and many businesses are reluctant to implement it. With negotiations on a larger stimulus package deadlocked, Trump chose to act on his own.
On Aug. 8, Trump issued a memorandum to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin deferring the taxes for 1.3 million federal employees, which he has the authority to do. However, while the withholding is deferred for 2020, the taxes will have to be paid by the employees next year and would result in smaller paychecks.
Everett Kelley, the national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, has called the Trump action “a scam that leaves workers with a substantial tax bill right after the holiday season. Workers will have to pay double their regular payroll tax rate during the first four months of 2021, and if they cannot do so, they will have to pay interest and penalties on amounts still owed if they’re not paid back by May 1, 2021,”
Liberty lives in light
© 2020 by David Silverberg