Hillsborough sales tax campaigns: Don’t forget bottom of ballot

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Two sales tax initiative campaigns are joining forces in a last minute push to garner support ahead of the Nov. 6 election.

All For Transportation and Strengthen Our Schools are asking voters to support 1 percent and one-half percent sales taxes to fund better transportation and transit and public school improvements.

The two groups want to make sure voters get all the way through their ballots this election. The two local referenda are at the bottom of a ballot also packed with constitutional amendments resulting from the Constitution Revision Commission that meets once every 20 years.

“Given the length of this year’s ballot, it is vitally important for citizens to understand the value of voting local,” said Stephanie Baxter-Jenkins, Hillsborough County Classroom Teachers Association Executive Director and Strengthen Our Schools Chair.

“We have critical infrastructure needs in both education and transportation and voters can act and vote locally by starting at the bottom of their ballot to build a better community.”

Baxter-Jenkins and leaders from the All For Transportation campaign held a joint press conference Monday to push support for both initiatives.

The 1 percent sales tax proposal for transit and transportation would raise about $280 million annually with 45 percent of the money going to the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority for transit enhancements and 54 percent going to Hillsborough County and its three municipalities for traffic congestion relief, road safety and maintenance.

The one half percent sales tax increase would fund repairs for air conditioning, leaky school roofs, enhanced classroom technology and stronger security measures in all Hillsborough County schools.

“Transportation and education issues are both critical community needs,” said Tyler Hudson, All for Transportation chairman. School busing is the largest mass transportation system in Hillsborough County and our plan will ensure those buses drive on improved roads and students have safe routes getting to and from school.”

Combined, the two proposals would bring Hillsborough County sales tax to 8.5 percent, the highest in the state.

The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce recently endorsed both plans noting their importance on economic development and business attraction.

The two groups had not previously officially endorsed each other, but representatives from each have spoken favorable of both proposals.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected]


2 comments

  • Dan

    October 29, 2018 at 2:27 pm

    The problem is that all the tax$ are spent on wish lists of unnecessary projects and staff… then they demand more taxes for the NEED list, like roads & sewers… Its an old trick and tax payers are getting pissed.

  • JimDavison DO

    October 29, 2018 at 4:43 pm

    Janelle, news scoop for you. At todays Hillsborough Citizen Advisory Committee Meeting, the same one the BOCC unanimously voted to send the Alternative tax plan to for evaluation in June, County Administrator Mike Merrill and All For Transportation Kevin Thurmond made the statement that the 1% sales tax will not make congestion better than it is today. Congestion is going to continue to get worse even with the tax although it may slow the rate of growth in congestion. These statements are now part of the record and in the CAC minutes. Makes those claims on the AFT fliers like “you will get home from work quicker” seem a lot like lying.

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