Sarasota News Leader

06/13/2014

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OPINION EDITORIAL THE BEST GOVERNMENT MONEY CAN BUY EDITORIAL The Sarasota Herald- Tribune reported this week that developers are blithely circumvent- ing the voter-mandated $200 cap on political donations for local races by funneling money through a series of affiliated corporations. The beneficiaries of this ethically challenged l a r g e s s e ? D e v e l o p m e n t d a r l i n g s P a u l Caragiulo and Alan Maio, both Republican c a n d i d a t e s f o r t h e S a r a s o t a C o u n t y Commission. According to published reports, Caragiulo has received almost $30,000 in donations, while Maio has garnered an astounding $80,000. Eight contributors have used corporate loop- holes to funnel $12,500 to Maio, while four contributors have similarly given $3,400 to Caragiulo. Still, the revelation of this subterfuge should not have come as much of a surprise. Following the Great Recession, developers have been looking for a way to fast-track their return to the profitability of the previous boom years, and the Sarasota County 2050 Plan has been their favorite target. The 2050 Plan places limits on the nature of new developments in the eastern part of the county, and it requires developers to guarantee that the burden of paying for public infrastructure necessary for those new developments will not be covered by existing taxpayers — a concept termed "fiscal neutrality." While developers have chafed at the plan's requirements to create higher-density villages, with commercial space placed in the centers to improve walkability and the surrounding OPINION

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