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Times recommendations on Hillsborough County referendums

The referendum on whether to increase the sales tax for transit improvements is not the only issue on the Hillsborough County ballot on Nov. 2. Voters face several other questions. The Times recommends approving one regarding the redrawing of county commission seats and rejecting the others.

Eliminate veto power of county mayor?

Voters approved a change to the county charter in 2008 that gave an elected county mayor veto power over most decisions by the county commission. A companion measure to create the mayor's position was kicked off the ballot in a legal challenge. Supporters of the question on the November ballot claim they are merely cleaning up the charter. But the real goal is to take the steam out of any future vote on creating a county mayor.

The Times recommends a "no" vote.

Authorize the county to waive property taxes for business expansion?

County commissioners want the option to exempt property taxes for businesses that expand or relocate to the county. The exemption would apply only to taxes levied by the county. It would not apply to the cities, school board or other taxing districts. But this is a rush job with too many questions; the county has no criteria for how it would award the tax breaks, which could have expensive and long-term implications. It would be best to wait and get the details right.

The Times recommends a "no" vote.

Require an additional public meeting on political boundary changes?

Of Hillsborough's seven county commissioners, four represent distinct districts and three are elected countywide. The commission redraws district boundaries every 10 years after the federal census. This change would require the county to hold an additional public hearing if commissioners sought major, last-minute changes to the new district boundaries. The result would be that the public would be better informed.

The Times recommends a "yes" vote.

Amend the job description of county auditor?

This measure would narrow the duties and authority of the county auditor. The auditor's office has been a failure and a waste of time and money. The county needs to quit tinkering with this office and eliminate it.

The Times recommends a "no" vote.

Authorize Plant City to waive property taxes for business expansion?

Plant City voters will consider the same tax break the county has proposed but within the city limits. Same flawed plan, different jurisdiction.

The Times recommends a "no" vote.

Times recommendations on Hillsborough County referendums 10/04/10 [Last modified: Monday, October 4, 2010 6:53pm]
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