TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — After hours of spirited debate, the Hillsborough County Board of Commissioners voted late Wednesday evening to send a one percent sales tax increase to voter’s ballots this November. The measure would fund transportation investment.
“The time is now that we get this one percent transportation sales tax passed. Let our voters make the final decision,” said Gwen Myers, Commissioner for District 3.
More than 50 people signed up to give remarks during the hours-long public comment section, some appearing virtually amid the many who gathered in person.
“I see we have the leadership to bring this to the voters. Which is why this referendum is different than what happened in ’18,” said Kimberly Overman, the Commission’s chairperson.
In 2018, the county voted to charge a one percent surtax to fund transportation needs throughout Hillsborough. For Hillsborough voters, $562 million could have been returned, but that hope was dashed by Barbas. The one percent surtax had been in effect since January 2019.
District 4 Commissioner Stacy White complained that the plan put funding towards the wrong things. He tried to amend several sections of the plan, but his motions failed. He ultimately voted against it.
“It is a downtown Tampa light rail plan and it’s terrible for the unincorporated communities in Hillsborough County,” said Commissioner White.
The decision on raising the tax or not will now be up to voters in Hillsborough County this November,