HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Hillsborough County taxpayers could get a refund from money collected through the now-invalid transportation sales tax.
The voter-approved surtax collected nearly $570 million dollars between 2019-2021, before the Florida Supreme Court invalidated the tax.
On Wednesday, the Hillsborough County Commission is expected to greenlight a plan for the use of the funds. The plan must then be submitted to the state legislature for approval.
The money has been sitting unused for years due to legal challenges. Recently, Governor Ron DeSantis decided a third-party administrator should develop a process to return some of the funds to individuals who can prove they paid the tax.
“It is those people that paid it, those people that deserve to have the benefit of those dollars,” Hillsborough County Commissioner Harry Cohen said.
It’s unclear how much money will be available to those who are eligible for the refund. If the plan is approved, refunds would be distributed by April 1, 2024.
The remaining money would be used for transportation projects in Hillsborough County.
“We have 1.5 million people in Hillsborough County,” Cohen said. “We are growing very, very fast for our infrastructure. It’s just not kept up.
“We paid it, we should be able to be using it,” Emily Hinsdale with Walk/Bike Tampa said. “It’s important to have it go towards funding some of the backlog of transportation projects that plague our city and make us one of the most dangerous places to be on the roads.”
Florida lawmakers will review the plan submitted by Hillsborough commissioners during the 2023 legislative session.
Commissioners are scheduled to approve and send the plan, Wednesday. Their regularly schedule meeting starts at 9 a.m.