FORT MYERS, FL (June 10, 2008) – Florida State Senator Burt Saunders spoke to residents of Shell Point Retirement Community in Fort Myers on Tuesday, June 10, at a Town Hall Community Forum. The forum was presented as a session of the Academy at Shell Point, the community’s lifelong learning and continuing education program. Senator Saunders covered a variety of topics important to seniors including a recap of recent legislative activity that occurred in Tallahassee during the 60 day session starting in March and ending in May.
More than 200 people attended this event which was held at the Village Church at Shell Point Retirement Community.
The program opened with remarks by Peter Dys, who has served as president of Shell Point Retirement Community since 1985, and serves on the Governor’s Continuing Care Advisory Council for the State of Florida. Following his comments, Dys introduced Senator Saunders who spoke for approximately one hour about major legislative issues including energy, the environment and taxes. After his remarks, Senator Saunders answered questions from seniors in the audience who expressed a variety of concerns including energy questions in relation to the nuclear power plants, funding for child abuse, immigration, Ethanol options, and single pay medical services.
Dys asked Senator Saunders to explain the affects that Article VII Section 19 could have on the residents of Shell Point and the surrounding community of Lee County. Senator Saunders explained the proposed legislation would eliminate the required local effort for public schools, which would result in a 25% reduction in the Ad Valorem tax for property owners, while increasing the sales tax by 1%.
“Voters should take a very good look at how this particular bill could affect them,” said Senator Saunders. “Ad Valorem property owners will save 25%, but this will create a $6 billion shortfall for public education. The legislature would be forced to generate new revenue to make up that shortfall in public education. This could cause taxing of services offered that have not been taxed before.”
Senator Saunders has been a champion for seniors and quality senior services during his career in government. He worked for more the 25 years in the areas of Public Service and the Practice of Law in South Florida. When serving as the Chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee, he helped craft Medicaid reform legislation to ensure continued benefits for those eligible while controlling the spiraling costs to Florida taxpayers. Senator Saunders has Chaired the Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee for the past two years where he has championed significant environmental legislation.
Senator Saunders has been serving in the Florida State Senate since 1998, and his term will end officially in November 2008. Senator Saunders will be running for a seat in the U.S. Congress. Though continuing to be a registered Republican, he will be on the November 4 ballot with “No-Party” affiliation for the seat in Congress, so that members of all parties have the option of voting for him. If you would like to ask questions about the legislative session, where the Senator stands on these issues and how they will affect the residents of Lee County, please call (239) 338-2777 in Fort Myers and Cape Coral, or (239) 417-6220 in Naples, to speak with a member of Senator Saunders Staff.
“I want to work as a bi-partisan member of Congress on all issues,” said Senator Saunders. “To solve problems in the communities we serve, I will work with Democrats, Republicans and Independents to come up with the best solution possible on all issues.”
Shell Point is a not-for-profit continuing care retirement community, providing “lifecare” services to more than 2,100 residents. Services include 1,113 independent residences, 219 skilled nursing beds, and 252 assisted living beds in the largest retirement community in the state of Florida and one of the largest in the nation.
Shell Point Retirement Community is located in Fort Myers just off Summerlin Road, two miles before the Sanibel causeway. Shell Point has been nationally accredited since 1993 and is a recognized leader in the retirement industry. Shell Point does not endorse any political party or candidate.