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Moving Hillsborough Backward at Your Expense

Moving Hillsborough Backward at Your Expense

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By Karen Jaroch


As a US Taxpayer and SunTrust account holder for more than 15 years I was extremely distressed to learn that SunTrust bank donated $50,000 to start the high-powered political committee named Moving Hillsborough Forward whose mission it is to promote passage of a 100% increase in the county sales tax for Hillsborough residents (from 1% to 2%) giving Hillsborough county the distinction of having the highest overall state sales tax in Florida at 8%!

SunTrust received $4.85 billion dollars of TARP money in 2008. How could SunTrust afford to donate such a large amount of taxpayer-provided money to a controversial political cause that is advocating an increase in taxes rather than choose to reimburse the US taxpayer to whom it owes a gigantic debt? This amounts to transforming taxpayer money into a weapon against taxpayers!

This is not only an ethical breach of conduct, it is gross financial mismanagement. How can SunTrust justify handing out $50,000 to a political activity when:

First, SunTrust received 5.6% of the bank industry bailout funds1 yet has given less than 1% back to the US Treasury when 75% of all TARP funds given to banks have already been repaid2.

Second, SunTrust currently has a D- from Weiss Ratings of the Weakest Banks In The US which implies they believe SunTrust is “vulnerable” to future financial difficulties or even failure, based on their analysis of SunTrust’s capital, asset quality, earnings, liquidity and other factors3.

SunTrust has a fiduciary responsibility to remedy the situation by immediately requesting that Moving Hillsborough Forward return their $50,000 contribution and instead SunTrust should remit payment to the US Treasury as a token start to paying off the debt SunTrust owes the US Taxpayer. I met with SunTrust Bank’s Tampa Bay president last week and he said he has no plans to do this nor does he have plans to give an equal amount to the political committee Notaxfortracks.com which is opposing the sales tax increase. It’s time that taxpayers let SunTrust know they are fed up with mismanagement of their money and demand that SunTrust rectify this immediately!

Karen Jaroch
Chairman of Tampa 912 Project

1 http://bailout.propublica.org/entities/457-suntrust
2 http://www.zacks.com/stock/news/36037/Banks+Pay+Back+75%25+of+TARP
3 http://www.weissratings.com/weakest-banks-and-thrifts-in-us.php#GA



Tom Tillison


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