Wednesday, May 4, 2022

UPDATE: Consent Agenda Items to Hand Tampa Focused Organizations County Transportation Tax Dollars Were Removed From Today's BOCC Meeting

This is an update to our previous post Hillsborough County Using Consent Agenda to Hand Tampa Focused Organizations County Transportation Tax Dollars

Some concerned citizens contacted commissioners requesting the 3 Consent Agenda items be removed from the Consent Agenda. They also raised their objections to the County handing out taxpayer funds to these organizations.

Kudos to Commissioner White who yesterday asked for the items to be removed from the Consent Agenda so each can be discussed transparently and voted on separately.

Apparently after White's request was made, the Westshore Alliance, the wealthiest district in the Hillsborough County, suddenly decided they did not need the taxpayer funds. The Consent Agenda item handing County transportation tax dollars to the Alliance was deleted from today's agenda. 

Interestingly, the other two Consent Agenda items to hand County transportation tax dollars to the Tampa Downtown Partnership and USF's New North Transportation Alliance (NNTA) were taken off today's agenda. 

These agenda items were moved to the June 15th County commission meeting.

The County must put these items on the June 15 Regular agenda to be openly discussed and separately voted on not rubber stamped thru the Consent Agenda.

We will be watching.

Hillsborough County Hires HNTB, With PR, Marketing and Political Consulting Firms In Tow, For Transportation "Public Engagement" Before Knowing What the Campaign Will Cost Taxpayers

It is rail tax campaign time again in Hillsborough County!

Hillsborough County commissioners voted today to hire HNTB for a transportation public engagement program....right after the Tampa Centric 5 voted to put an $18 BILLION rail tax on the November ballot. 

But no one was told how much this will cost taxpayers. No cost estimate, even if just high level, was provided to the commissioners or the public for how much the County expects to spend with HNTB. 

Monday, May 2, 2022

Hillsborough County Using Consent Agenda to Hand Tampa Focused Organizations County Transportation Tax Dollars


At Wednesday's May 4, 2022 Hillsborough County Commission meeting there are 3 Consent Agenda items for the County to hand taxpayer dollars to three so-called public-private "Transportation Management Organizations" (TMO). 

Items on the Consent Agenda allow no discussion because all the items on the Consent Agenda are voted on with just one rubber stamp vote. Consent Agenda items are supposed to be used for routine, non-controversial agenda items. 

This money is flowing right after the commission voted to put the AFT 2.0 30 year ONE PERCENT (NOT ONE CENT) $18 BILLION rail tax do-over on the ballot.

All three of these TMO's are primarily Tampa focused. 

Friday, April 29, 2022

Democrat County Commissioner Pat Kemp Gets 4 Pinocchios For Claiming the ONE PERCENT AFT 2.0 Rail Tax Do-Over is a ONE CENT Tax Hike

On April 15, Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp, a Tampa Centric Democrat, spoke at Cafe Con Tampa

Kemp spoke about the proposed AFT 2.0 $18 Billion rail tax do-over. She already knew the Tampa Centric 5 Democrats (herself, Kimberly Overman, Mariella Smith, Gwen Myers, Harry Cohen) would put it on the November ballot. Kemp had to catch herself several times as she spoke because the actual vote to put it on the ballot had not yet taken place.

At Cafe Con Tampa Kemp admits what we already have said - AFT 2.0 is almost the exact same as AFT's illegal 2018 rail tax. She touted that AFT 2.0 mandates 45% ($8.2 BILLION) of the $18 BILLION tax be DEDICATED for transit. 

Kemp never said a word about DEDICATED funding for new auto/vehicle lane capacity....because AFT 2.0 has NONE

Just like AFT's illegal 2018 rail tax, the $18 BILLION AFT 2.0 rail tax provides ZERO funds dedicated for much needed new auto/vehicle lane capacity, especially in South County.

Kemp gets into real trouble on April 15th when she calls AFT 2.0 a ONE PENNY tax - go to about 8:10 in the video

Someone in the audience pushed back on Kemp that it is a ONE PERCENT (NOT ONE CENT) $18 Billion tax on the ballot. Kemp doubled down and insisted AFT 2.0 was a One Cent, One Penny tax.

Of course that is false aka a lie. Kemp was attempting to spread disinformation to obscure the truth of how massive the $18 BILLION AFT 2.0 rail tax is.

Five days later on April 20, Kemp voted at the public hearing to put AFT 2.0 on the November ballot. She voted for the County Ordinance and ballot summary language (see below) that clearly states the AFT 2.0 rail tax do-over is a 30 Year ONE PERCENT sales tax hike.




"One Cent" and/or "one penny" is nowhere to be found in the Ordinance and ballot summary language. 

Kemp's actions speak louder than her words. 

Kemp understands the burdensome funding buckets and restrictive earmarked funding percentages within the rail tax. She knows AFT 2.0 is a massive ONE PERCENT tax because that is what she voted for.

We know AFT 2.0 is an inflationary 13.3% tax hike from 7.5% to 8.5% - the highest in the State. It will add to the raging inflation rate of almost 10% in Tampa Bay. 

Kemp misrepresented AFT 2.0 as a One Cent tax - to obscure the truth that the rail tax do-over is a massive 30 year ONE PERCENT $18 BILLION tax hike.

Kemp gets Four Pinocchios for trying to spread disinformation.



Monday, April 25, 2022

As Their Constituents Struggle, Tampa Centric 5 Puts Inflationary $18 Billion AFT 2.0 Rail Tax Do-Over on November Ballot That Benefits Wealthy Special Interests Donor Base

It's On! 

The Tampa Centric 5 Democrat Hillsborough County commissioners put AFT 2.0 30 year ONE PERCENT (NOT ONE CENT) $18 BILLION rail tax do-over on the November ballot. 

Taxpayers have not been refunded one cent of the $562 MILLION of unlawfully collected 2018 AFT rail tax dollars. No problem, just put AFT 2.0 on the ballot.

The ONE public hearing (historically always 2 public hearings were held about sales tax referendums) last week was just a required checkbox in the process. Forty-four people made public comment at the hearing almost evenly split between 40 who opposed and 44 who supported. 

However, there were more people who opposed protesting the rail tax outside County Center before the hearing who did not make public comment.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Beware of "Deceptive Divas" As the Burdensome AFT 2.0 $18 BILLION "Old Path Backwards" Rail Tax Hits the November Ballot

The Tampa Centric 5 county commissioners will vote tonight at the Hillsborough County public hearing to put the AFT 2.0 30 year ONE PERCENT (NOT ONE CENT) $18 BILLION rail tax do-over on the November 2022 ballot. 

After the Florida Supreme Court threw out AFT's 2018 rail tax as illegal and unconstitutional last year, AFT's largest donor Jeff Vinik said "While today’s court ruling is a setback, we must look ahead and forge a new path forward for 2022..."

But the "new path forward" in 2022 is the "old path backwards" from 2018.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Cannot Trust Those Closely Intertwined With All for Transportation Especially As AFT 2.0 $18 BILLION Rail Tax Do-Over Is Put on the Nov. Ballot

The local rail cartel includes elected officials, unelected bureaucrats, transit activists, some local media allies, lawyers and wealthy special interests who keep funding rail tax boondoggle referendums. 

These people are closely intertwined with the pro rail All for Transportation (AFT) Political Action Committee (PAC) funded by the wealthy special interests. Their collusive behavior and cozy relationships breeds distrust.

They work together, whether ethical or not, and have stacked transportation decision making positions in Hillsborough County with themselves. The result is they reside within their own group think bubble they rarely venture out of.