Welch: Transit sales tax probably won't lower property taxes
Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch has some bad news: A fledgling plan that would ask voters to raise the county sales tax for light rail probably won't mean the property taxes for public transit would go down.
Welch and other advocates suggested a sweetener for voters to raise the sales tax in a 2010 referendum would be eliminating the property taxes that go to the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority.
But that arrangement would leave money short to pay for construction and operating costs for rail and buses, Welch said.
Hillsborough County plans a similar 2010 referendum, but Pinellas remains a few steps behind. A funding committee brainstorming options will meet Monday. Even when a proposal emerges, the light rail is a long way from chugging -- even being built.
"A shovel in the ground four years from now would be a miracle," Commissioner Karen Seel said.