Ken Welch's Pinellas tax rate hike gets no support
CLEARWATER -- Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch's proposal to raise the property tax rate and ease budget cuts died this morning.
His motion didn't even get a second from any of the six other commissioners -- a silence that mirrored the reaction he received when broaching the idea last week. He thanked members for hearing him out before they moved on to other issues.
The county would have received $21 million more for 2010, though falling property values would mean Pinellas still would take in up to $22 less than last year.
"I guess for me, it's how much of a tax cut is enough," said Welch. He said the higher tax rate would cover deficits through 2013 and pay for needed services, such as health care for the poor and affordable housing.
The county has cut about $78 million in jobs and programs for 2010, but still projects a $10.2 million deficit in 2011.
For longtime homeowners, however, the tax bill would have gone up from this year -- typically $38, according to a St. Petersburg Times analysis. That increase prompted Commissioner Nancy Bostock's opposition, and she and members Karen Seel and John Morroni suggested that more cuts could be done.
David DeCamp, Times staff writer