Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough ballots may include proposals' costs

TAMPA — Voters in Hillsborough County will get to decide whether future ballot initiatives should include a financial impact statement telling them how much it will cost if approved.

The county's Charter Review Board, in its final meeting Monday, voted 11-3 to place a question on the 2012 ballot that, if approved, would require an impact statement for future local ballot questions. The state has a similar provision for proposed constitutional changes placed on the ballot.

"We're just trying to bring Hillsborough County up to the 21st century and say, hey, people want to know what things cost," said engineering consultant and activist Joe Robinson, who serves on the charter board and has been pushing the issue.

The local ballot question was sought by tea party activists who fought against the November transit tax referendum, which did not include a financial impact statement. Voters defeated the initiative, which proposed raising the sales tax by a penny to pay for rail, buses and road work.

Charter Review Board members debated how to quantify the potential costs of a referendum — should it be over 20 years, five, or two? In a move that potentially waters down the effect of the initiative, the review board agreed to a two-year time horizon.

That's significant. A 20-year financial impact statement on the November transit initiative would have put the cost of taxes diverted to transit in the neighborhood of $4 billion. If the proposal approved Monday had been in place, the impact statement would have put the price tag at closer to $400 million.

Sharon Calvert, a co-founder of the Tampa Tea Party who advocated for the cost disclosure statement, said she is happy the board gave voters the chance to require some form of estimate.

"If nothing else, it puts it out in front of people and they can ask more questions," Calvert said. "At least they have a reference to a time."

If it is approved, the county's budget director would be in charge of preparing the financial disclosure statement. Board member Ralph Fisher unsuccessfully sought to allow citizens who are pushing a ballot initiative to craft their own estimate.

Fisher and board member Rochelle Reback and James Tokley Sr. voted against the ballot question.

Bill Varian can be reached at (813) 226-3387 or varian@sptimes.com.

Hillsborough ballots may include proposals' costs 01/31/11 [Last modified: Monday, January 31, 2011 11:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Police commander among 6 charged in deadly 1989 UK soccer deaths

    World

    LONDON — British prosecutors charged six people Wednesday in the 1989 Hillsborough stadium disaster where 96 soccer fans were crushed to death.

    Police, stewards and supporters tend and care for wounded supporters on the pitch at Hillsborough Stadium, in Sheffield, England, on April 15, 1989. British prosecutors on Wednesday June 28, 2017, are set to announce whether they plan to lay charges in the deaths of 96 people in the Hillsborough stadium crush _ one of Britain's worst-ever sporting disasters. [Associated Press]
  2. Supreme Court term ended much different than it began

    Courts

    BC-US—Supreme Court, 1st Ld-Writethru,899

    AP Photo WX109

    People visit the Supreme Court in Washington, Monday, June 26, 2017, as justices issued their final rulings for the term, in Washington.  The Supreme Court began its term nine months ago with Merrick Garland nominated to the bench, Hillary Clinton favored to be the next president, and the court poised to be controlled by Democratic appointees for the first time in 50 years.  Things looked very different when the justices wrapped up their work this week. [Associated Press]
  3. SPC's Bill Law leaves with pride for the faculty, concern for students — and a story about hotdogs

    College

    ST. PETERSBURG — The local community college had already made a name for itself when William Law Jr. first arrived on campus in the early 1980s as a vice president. Still, the school, then named St. Petersburg Junior College, was just a shadow of the sprawling state college it would later become.

    Bill Law, outgoing St. Petersburg College president, said he is proud of the college cultivating stronger relationships with the community.
  4. Forecast: Pattern of hot, humid air and inland, late-day showers continues across bay area

    Weather

    Storms again will pop up midday around Tampa Bay, but are forecast to mostly stick inland.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day. [WTSP]
  5. UCF suspends fraternity amid sex assault and hazing claims (w/video)

    College

    ORLANDO — A University of Central Florida fraternity has been suspended while the school investigates allegations of sexual assault and hazing.