TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A special meeting is scheduled for the Hillsborough County Commission on Thursday involving a rejected tax referendum.
Chair Kimberly Overman called the meeting to decide if the county will appeal a judge’s recent ruling removing a transportation tax referendum from the November General Election ballot.
According to county leaders, the 1% sales tax would raise $340 million in funds annually for improvements to the roads and public transportation. An attorney representing those who are opposed to the measure said the ballot’s language could mislead the public.
Attorney Sam Aalario, Jr. released a statement that reads:
“The County chose ballot language that led voters to think they were voting for things like new and wider roads in places like Brandon and Tampa. Unfortunately, it didn’t choose that language because it is true. The county chose it because the county wanted people to vote for the tax and this language polled well. Voters have the legal right to fair and honest treatment. The County’s ballot language instead misled them about what their vote does and does not do.”Sam Aalario, Jr., attorney
In 2018, another judge struck down a similar transportation tax after it was approved by voters.
“We’ve already had a four year delay, that’s the sad part about this. Voters voted to pass this in 2018,” Overman said. According to the commission chair, the delays are driving up project prices.
She explained, “It may have cost us as much as $1 million a year since we were not able to start investing in the early part of 2019.”
Despite the climbing costs, some Hillsborough County voters told 8 On Your Side they aren’t on board with the newly proposed tax.
Rod Mayhew said, “The reason I’m against that is that, until they can manage the funds they have, I don’t think we should give them funds because it’s just going back into the fire that’s already lit.”
Thursday’s special meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. at the County Center in downtown Tampa. The meeting is open to the public.