Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Could Penny for Pasco proceeds support economic development?

County leaders are beginning a push to renew the Penny for Pasco sales tax, and there are early talks to use some of the new revenue to attract jobs to the county.

It would be a new use for the money, which currently pays for school construction, roads, environmental land preservation and public safety equipment. But nearly a quarter of respondents to an online survey by the county said officials should use some of the sales tax money for economic development.

"When I talk with the economic development folks, they've got a very broad vision," Chief Assistant County Administrator Michele Baker said. "But I'm not sure what citizens had mind when they said that."

But she hopes to discuss some ideas. Officials are hosting three community meetings this month where a major topic will be renewing Penny for Pasco, which is expected to go on the November ballot. Baker plans to discuss results of the county's online questionnaire and a separate survey conducted by a national firm.

She also wants feedback on next year's county budget and on a long-term "strategic plan" that guides county policy.

The current sales tax is set to be collected through 2014 and is projected to bring in about $420 million over the 10-year life of the tax, slightly less than the original estimate. As a sweetener to pick up votes, the tax also included a school tax rate rollback of 50 cents for every $1,000 of assessed property value.

Supporters wanted to schedule a renewal vote this year to avoid a lapse in collections.

County Administrator John Gallagher said state law used to restrict the sales tax revenue to capital projects. In economic development terms, that mostly meant paying for roads when a project came to Pasco. But the law recently changed to allow up to 15 percent of the money to be used for incentives.

"Everybody's talking about jobs, jobs," he said. "I thought it was a pretty good idea."

Another potential use would be creating a so-called incubator that gives businesses startup capital or helps small companies expand.

Gallagher said it's still too early to know what percentage of the tax revenue — if any — would go toward economic development. It might mean that other programs take a slight hit.

Or, he said, the county could maintain the same formula for current programs. Economic development programs could get the growth from revenue — collections that exceed the original amount of money from the first 10 years.

Lee Logan can be reached at or (727) 869-6236.

.fast facts

Discuss your thoughts on Penny for Pasco

Pasco County government will host three community meetings this month to discuss future plans for the Penny for Pasco as well as next year's budget and long-term planning. Meetings will be held:

• 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Land O'Lakes Community Center, 5401 Land O'Lakes Blvd.

• 7 to 9 p.m. March 27 at the historic Pasco courthouse, 37918 Meridian Ave., Dade City (this meeting will be televised on Bright House channel 622 and Verizon channel 42).

• 7 to 9 p.m. March 29 at the West Pasco Government Center, 8731 Citizens Drive in New Port Richey.

For information call (727) 847-8100 or visit

Could Penny for Pasco proceeds support economic development? 03/17/12 [Last modified: Saturday, March 17, 2012 2:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Study: Tampa Bay a top market for homebuyers on the move

    Real Estate

    The Tampa Bay area is among the top markets for homebuyers who are likely to move in the next few months, ATTOM Data Solutions says.

    The Tampa Bay area is among the top markets for homebuyers who are likely to move in the next few months, a survey found.
[Associated Press file photo]
  2. Tampa lawyer Fred Ridley to be new chairman of Augusta National, Masters' home (w/ video)


    AUGUSTA, Ga. — Fred Ridley first came to Augusta National to compete in the 1976 Masters as the U.S. Amateur champion, and he played the opening round in the traditional pairing with the defending champion, Jack Nicklaus.

  3. Rays send down Chase Whitley, Andrew Kittredge; add Chih-Wei Hu, acitvate Alex Cobb


    After having to cover more than five innings following a short start by Austin Pruitt, the Rays shuffled their bullpen following Wednesday's game, sending down RHPs Chase Whitley and Andrew Kittredge,

    The Kittredge move was expected, as he was summoned to add depth to the pen Wednesday in advance of RHP Alex …

  4. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred moves closer to wanting a decision on Rays stadium

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred called Wednesday for urgency from Tampa Bay area government leaders to prioritize and move quicker on plans for a new Rays stadium.

    MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred talks with reporters at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017.
  5. Six home runs doom Rays in loss to Blue Jays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — A curve that didn't bounce was the difference Wednesday as the Rays lost 7-6 to the Blue Jays in front of 8,264, the smallest Tropicana field crowd since Sept. 5, 2006.

    Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (11) greets center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) at the plate after his two run home run in the third inning of the game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017.