Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bill to swap property taxes for higher sales taxes for PSTA stirs controversy

A proposed bill that would swap property taxes for a higher sales tax in Pinellas County has reignited tea party opposition to rail.

State Sen. Jack Latvala calls his bill "a no-brainer."

But members of the South Pinellas 9/12 Patriots group oppose the bill because taxes for the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority could increase, and they fear it will bankroll rail.

The bill, which state Rep. Ed Hooper also sponsored, calls for the PSTA to end its property tax rate if Pinellas voters increase the sales tax.

PSTA officials sought it because dropping the property tax could be necessary to win voters on raising the sales tax from 7 percent to 8 percent. The new tax money could go to enhanced bus services or rail, or both.

Latvala, R-Clearwater, chairman of the Senate's transportation committee, said the bill would protect taxpayers by stopping the PSTA from using both a sales tax and property taxes.

But swapping taxes also would increase revenue, transit officials project. After raising its tax rate for 2011-12, the agency will receive $32 million in property taxes as part of an $84.9 million budget. A 1 percent sales tax for transit would produce about $100 million a year.

Dubbing it a "Bus Bailout Bill," South Pinellas 9/12 Patriots organizer Barb Haselden e-mailed members to rally opposition this week. "But this isn't about the buses, it is about the excess millions this bill will generate that will be used to bring rail to Pinellas County."

It's not the only bill attracting attention. State Rep. Rick Kriseman, D-St. Petersburg, wants the delegation to support a bill allowing local governments in Pinellas to opt out of the state pre-emption of local gun laws. Under the bill, also sponsored by Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, the County Commission could call a referendum to decide the matter.

County officials generally oppose the state trumping their power, but Pinellas hasn't taken a stand on Kriseman's bill.

David DeCamp can be reached at ddecamp@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8779. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/decamptimes.

>>ast facts

Pinellas County legislative delegation

When: 9 a.m. Thursday

Where: Palladium Theater, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg

What: Lawmakers will hear requests for funding and vote on local bills for the full Legislature to consider.

Bill to swap property taxes for higher sales taxes for PSTA stirs controversy 10/26/11 [Last modified: Thursday, October 27, 2011 4:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Van plows into crowd in Barcelona; Police view it as terror

    World

    BARCELONA, Spain — A white van jumped the sidewalk Thursday in Barcelona's historic Las Ramblas district, injuring several people as it plowed into a summer crowd of tourists and residents, police said. The El Pais newspaper said police were treating the crash as a terror attack.

    A police officer cordon off a street in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017. Police in the northern Spanish city of Barcelona say a white van has jumped the sidewalk in the city's historic Las Ramblas district, injuring several people. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez) TH105
  2. For starters: Rays at Jays, with Archer leading the way

    Blogs

    Having lost two of the first three to the Blue Jays and in danger of dropping into last place in the AL East, the Rays turn today to All-Star Chris Archer.

    Archer said Wednesday that he …

  3. Line of tropical waves move across Atlantic, edging closer to Caribbean and U.S.

    Hurricanes

    While Hurricane Gert weakens as it continues to move away from the United States, forecasters are monitoring three tropical waves as they make their ways west across the Atlantic.

    Three tropical waves are expected to strengthen as they move across the Atlantic Ocean. [Courtesy of the National Hurricane Center]
  4. Tony Dungy on Twitter: I'm donating $5K to move Confederate statue, Bucs, Rays and Lightning should act too

    Bucs

    Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach and Tampa resident Tony Dungy announced publicly today that he's contributing $5,000 to a fund to move a Confederate monument out of downtown Tampa.

    Tony Dungy in 2011. [Getty]
  5. Temper Fine: Local retired Marines debate Charlottesville on Facebook

    Military

    The outrage triggered by the deadly protest in Charlottesville, Va. has sparked a reaction from the military, with the four service chiefs speaking out publicly against hatred and prejudice after President Donald Trump's comments about the issue.

    Marine Cpl. Mike Nicholson is greeted by hundreds of people at Tampa International Airport during a welcoming ceremony in 2012. Nicholson was injured in Afghanistan by an explosive that claimed his legs and part of his left arm.      [JAMES BORCHUCK, Times]