Hernando Commission rejects idea of half-cent sales tax

Published February 14
Updated February 14

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County Commissioners this week briefly considered, then rejected, a suggestion by Commissioner Wayne Dukes to ask voters this fall for a half-cent sales tax that could provide future property tax relief.

Dukes said he was concerned that paying for government rested on the backs of property owners.

If the commission cut the property tax rate and replaced the revenue with sales taxes partially paid by people passing through the community, it might provide some relief. A mill of property tax relief — $1 in savings for every $1,000 in appraised taxable property value — would cost the county about $7 million.

A half-cent sales tax would bring in between $8 million and $10 million.

Other commissioners balked, noting that the current board couldn’t legally bind future boards to maintain the property tax cut. Plus, sales tax referendums were supposed to be used to raise money for specific projects.

Commissioner Nick Nicholson said it wasn’t a good time to discuss the idea because voters already will be voting on a statewide property tax relief referendum in November, and that alone could cost the county $3 million in revenue.

Commissioner John Allocco and Jeff Holcomb said the public probably would not trust that the move was for tax relief.

"They’re not going to believe us,’’ Holcomb said.