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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Could Hillsborough commissioners put 30-year transportation tax back in play?

Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller raised the prospect that a 20- or 30-year sales tax could be brought back to life.

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Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller raised the prospect that a 20- or 30-year sales tax could be brought back to life.

TAMPA — There have been a lot of strange and surprising twists and turns in Hillsborough County’s ongoing saga to pass a transportation funding plan.

So just file this tidbit away for a later date.

At a transportation workshop today, Commissioner Les Miller asked County Attorney Chip Fletcher whether the board could still pass a half cent sales tax for 20 years or 30 years. Recall, commissioners voted 4-3 in April against both those proposals.

It seems they can.

As Fletcher noted, the commission’s rules of order state: “Upon motion by any Commissioner, the Board may consider an action that did not pass in a prior meeting.”

Commissioners are scheduled to meet June 9 to decide whether or not to raise the sales from 7 percent to 7.5 percent for a duration of 15 years to pay for roads and transit . The vote to consider a 15-year tax was a surprise that brought back to life a sales tax hike that many thought was dead after the April vote.

Apparently, the 20- and 30-year option could be revived as well. Miller was a strong advocate for a 30-year tax.

There was no indication Wednesday or in recent conversations that any of the four commissioners who voted against a longer tax have reconsidered. In fact, one swing vote, Commissioner Sandy Murman, has asked staff to layout what a half and quarter cent tax surcharge could bring for five and 10 years.

But not all of the commissioners have made clear how they intend to vote June 9 and some have flipped already.

So Miller’s question and Fletcher’s answer are something to keep an eye on as the county nears that vote.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 24, 2016 2:01pm]

    

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