"No" vote on budget and tax hike reflected fiscal principles, Hillsborough's White says
No, he wasn't upset at the other school board members.
And he wasn't looking to light a match to a half-billion dollars in state education funding.
Stacy White says he voted Tuesday night against the Hillsborough County schools budget, along with a state-mandated property tax hike, on principle.
"I just started putting more thought into it," said the east Hillsborough pharmacist, a sometimes contrarian member of the board. "And it was definitely an issue of philosophy for me. It goes against my core values to vote for an increase in taxes."
Those who suspect political motive can hike an eyebrow. We certainly did.
After all, it seemed a safe bet the budget and tax would sail through. White's position was so surprising, in fact, that in announcing the vote, chairwoman Doretha Edgecomb used the word "unanimous" -- until somebody corrected her.
"I would not call it political posturing at all," White insisted. And, despite his independent views, he said his vote was in no way a slap at the administration.
Everyone else voted yes to a property tax rate of $7.91 per $1,000 in taxable home value.
Speakers in the audience -- a consultant who wished the public could view individual school budgets, and a childless homeowner who characterized students as limousine-riding children of welfare cheats -- could not argue convincingly against a system that essentially forces districts to cough up about half their money locally.
White said he did not explain his position after the vote because he needed to take part in an unrelated discussion about the district's employee grievance system. "So I saved my remarks for that," he said.