Bay Buzz

The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Ed Turanchik's early-voting exit poll predicts passage of Tampa tax-break proposal

21

February

TAMPA -- A city proposal to offer property tax breaks to new or expanded businesses appears to have strong support, according to an exit poll of South Tampa voters Saturday.

The poll, done by mayoral candidate Ed Turanchik's campaign, found that about 80 percent of the 121 voters interviewed supported the referendum. If it passes, the measure will allow Tampa to give businesses up to a 100 percent exemption from property taxes for the assessed value of new or expanded operations. Companies also could get a tax break for investments in tangible property such as  furniture, fixtures, machinery, tools, signs, supplies and other equipment. The tax waiver could last for 10 years. It would apply only to city taxes, not those levied by the School Board or other local taxing authorities.

In November, Hillsborough County voters approved the creation of a similar economic incentive program for county taxes by a vote of 64 percent to 36 percent. Mayor Pam Iorio's administration brought the issue forward in the city partly to prevent the creation of an uneven playing field if the tax breaks existed in the county, but not in the city.

If Tampa voters approve the program, companies would have to apply for the tax break, and would be required to provide details about their new operations and what equipment they bought to run them. Before the city could approve the requests, the Hillsborough County property appraiser would provide a breakdown of what the city could expect in property tax revenue, what impact previously awarded property tax exemptions would be expected to have on that revenue and how much tax revenue the city would lose from the requested exemption.

A total of 821 voters cast ballots on the first day of early voting Saturday, and 407 of them voted at the Jan Kaminis Platt Regional Library in South Tampa, where Turanchik's campaign conducted the poll. Early voting continues through Saturday.

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[Last modified: Monday, February 21, 2011 4:46pm]

    

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