TAMPA – Mayor Bob Buckhorn is the latest Democratic leader to throw his support behind a proposal to raise sales tax by one penny on the dollar to pay for road, bus and transit projects.
In a statement released by All for Transportation, Buckhorn urged Hillsborough County residents to vote for the plan. The citizen's group collected more than 50,000 validated signatures to get it on the Nov. 6 ballot.
"The lack of investment in our core transportation infrastructure has reached a crisis point," Buckhorn said in a statement. "We need funding for projects that reduce congestion, make our streets safer and provide new and reliable transit options for people to get to and from work."
Other elected leaders backing the plan include Tampa City Council members Yolie Capin, Harry Cohen, Guido Maniscalco, Charlie Miranda, Mike Suarez and Luis Viera. Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller and Florida State Senator Darryl Rouson have also endorsed it.
It has gotten no backing from local Republican politicians. But it has gained support from some prominent local Republican businessman including Mike Griffin, a past chairman of the advisory board of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, and Sykes Enterprises owner Chuck Sykes.
The only organized opposition to the tax is from Americans for Prosperity — an anti-tax, small government group founded by oil billionaires Charles G. and David H. Koch.
For a household with an income that's average for the county, around $55,000, the hike would mean an extra $120 per year in taxes, according to a sales tax calculator developed by the Internal Revenue Service.
About 54 percent of the money would be spent on roads, sidewalks and trails. Most of the rest would go the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit authority for better bus service and transit.
Contact Christopher O'Donnell at [email protected] or (813) 226-3446. Follow @codonnell_Times.