Monday, March 12, 2007

Bishop: Penny a Pittance for Poor

From the St. Petersburg Times:

Bishop Robert N. Lynch, after his homily Sunday at Most Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church, told parishioners:

"I would never, ever put myself in the position where I would encourage people to vote for a particular candidate or against a particular candidate or even on issues. But I do have grave concerns about the way in which the poor, and the vulnerable elderly, especially, and the homeless are accommodated in Pinellas County. ... On the county level, you're being asked on Tuesday to vote for a renewal of a 1-penny tax that's been in effect for 17 years. You're being asked to vote for a renewal of a 1-penny tax that has in the past had zero in it for human services - nothing for the poor, the homeless or the vulnerable elderly. Now what do I mean about the vulnerable elderly? A lot of you in this church understand. You live on the edge of fixed incomes. And so many of our people who came here to spend their final years with us have found, for example, that the political jurisdictions have allowed the owners of trailer parks just to sell them and move everybody off. And they don't have any place to go. And in many other communities throughout the country, the community rises and provides low-cost housing as an alternative in these kinds of situations. We can't do it. We haven't done it. And if this penny tax passes as proposed, we won't be able to do very much. This tax will realize $1.9-billion over the 10 years from the year 2010 to 1019. They have, to their credit, allocated 1.5 percent for affordable and low-cost housing. They've never done that before. They've done it largely because of an organization like F.A.S.T., which has talked to them. I believe that $30-million out of $1.9-billion is a pittance, and we should be ashamed of that. And so I'm asking our Catholic people and others of goodwill to reflect this weekend on this particular political issue."