In the Sine Die edition of “As the Pension Tax Turns,” there is (potentially) great news for Jacksonville advocates of the Discretionary Sales Surtax bill that the Senate just passed.
The bill goes to the Gov. Rick Scott on Friday, says a very reliable source. And Scott made what has been called a “solid commitment” to sign it.
The Governor’s office, meanwhile, says that Scott is “reviewing it.”
For Jacksonville legislators and community leaders, Scott’s signature would be the next step in a path to securing an eventual revenue source (available once the current half-cent tax for the Better Jacksonville Plan sunsets) for the city’s $2.6 billion unfunded pension liability.
The governor’s signature, if it happens as our connected source expects, would be the precursor to a referendum this fall, and it will require all the political capital that city leaders can muster to get the public, skeptical of pension deals city government has brokered over the years, to get it through.
Mayor Lenny Curry said as much in an email to various local leaders Wednesday: “While we have made great progress, there is much more work to be done. I look forward to next steps and request your continued support of our efforts to solve pension for good.”
Expectations, laid out first in the Jax Daily Record by David Chapman, are that $3 million to $4 million in private funds, likely funneled through the Curry-affiliated Build Something That Lasts PAC, will be used on the marketing effort for this bill.
The Better Jacksonville Plan had a similarly aggressive marketing plan buoyed by a universally popular second-term mayor. But even with the political momentum of John Delaney and a booming economy, it got only 57 percent of the vote.
Counting out the Curry political operation would be a mistake. Many doubted their ability to get the surtax extension through Tallahassee.
The doubters have been proven wrong.