The current Sarasota County Commission has created an embarrassing new problem for itself, and for the county.
It was recently reported that last October, the Commission approved an incentive grant of $825,000 in taxpayer funds to lure a Canadian video streaming company with 12 employees to the county — this even though the company was already operating in the county and had no need to be lured here.
The company, Rumble, Inc., is known as a haven for extremist ideologues and the Russian government. According to news reports, it continues to stream Russia’s state-controlled, propaganda television network, which was dropped by most U.S. cable providers when Russia invaded Ukraine.
Rumble promised the county that it would create 165 jobs, but without a promise of how many of these would be Sarasota-area residents. Still, all five current Republican commissioners approved giving Rumble taxpayer dollars. Fortunately, Sarasota County and Rumble have yet to sign the final Financial Incentive Grant Agreement.
The Sarasota County Democratic Party (SCDP) urges the Commission to cancel this agreement immediately. Citizens are rightfully outraged that $825,000 of taxpayer money could be considered for this purpose when there are so many other glaring needs in our county. The SCDP also urges all Sarasota County residents of all political parties to remember this debacle when these commissioners come up for re-election.