With Trump traveling from chilly DC to tropical Florida every weekend, at a cost of more than $3 million each trip, taxpayers are now increasingly furious with the massive waste of public funds our jet-setting President is pawning off on them.
For the city of Palm Beach and its residents, however, it’s even worse. The location of Mar-a-Lago, the Trump resort that he’s turned into an unsecured “winter White House,” the city and its county government have spent over $1.4 million from their own coffers helping provide security for the president and his family during his visits.
Now Palm Beach County Commissioner Dave Kerner has had enough. He wants to reclassify Mar-a-Lago as a “municipal service benefit unit” so the county can impose a special tax on the property to help offset these immense and unanticipated costs.
Palm Beach’s proposal comes after mounting frustration with the lack of response from the Federal Government to their requests for reimbursement. According to the Palm Beach Post, County Commissioner Mary Lou Berger and other local officials recently held a call with the Department Of Homeland Security and other federal agencies to discuss how to get these costs covered. According to Berger:
“They were polite, but that’s where they stopped,” Berger said. “I did not get a lot of encouragement.”
It’s not just the budget overages that have county administrators concerned. Every time the President visits, flights to and from the local Lantana airport are completely disrupted by temporary flight restrictions imposed by federal security officials. While Commissioner Kerner has tried negotiating with the Secret Service on ways to keep the airport open, he’s faced a stone wall so far.
“They said, ‘This isn’t a negotiation. Let me tell you why it’s going to be this way.’” Kerner said.
“The Lantana airport will be shut down any time the president is in town. We’ve bent over backwards. I get it. The president’s safety is paramount.”
While estimates say that the airport and its employees contribute $27 million to the local economy, no one has ventured a guess on how much that total will drop with the now-weekly closings.
While Republicans were relentless in their criticism of President Obama’s vacation time and expenditures, they’ve hypocritically been mute on the new Vacationer-In-Chief’s weekly jaunts, despite the fact that Trump is on track to spend more on his vacations in his first year in office than Obama spent during his entire eight-year term.
With this level of waste of taxpayer funds, no wonder Palm Beach wants to enact its own tax reform plan!
Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.