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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Now Hillsborough County will consider a 15-year sales tax hike for transportation

TAMPA -- After killing half-cent sales tax hikes of 30 and 20 years last month, Hillsborough County commissioners will now consider raising the sales tax for 15 years to pay for transportation projects in the region.

In a 5-2 decision Wednesday, commissioners voted to hold a public hearing in the near future where they will vote on the 15-year option. If it passes, it will go to residents in a ballot referendum this November.

Commissioners Sandy Murman and Stacy White were the two “no” votes. The date of the public hearing is to be determined.

During the meeting, commissioners also said they would not tap into reserves or cut from the budgets of the constitutional officers, like the Sheriff’s Office and the Clerk of the Circuit Court, or fire and rescue department to pay for transportation. They also took a 5-cent gas tax increase off the table.

On April 27, commissioners voted 4-3 against measures that would raise the sales tax a half cent for 30 years and then 20 years. A 30-year tax was the recommendation of County Administrator Mike Merrill and the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce endorsed a tax of at least 20 years.

A half cent sales tax would bring in $117 million a year for road construction and transit projects.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 11, 2016 3:22pm]


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