Friday, February 26, 2021

Breaking: No Tax For Tracks Issues Statement on Yesterday's FL Supreme Court Ruling Striking the AFT Transit Tax

No Tax For Tracks, the formal opposition to the All For Transportation transit tax, has issued the following Statement on Florida Supreme Court Ruling Striking the AFT transit tax.

No Tax For Tracks Statement

On Florida Supreme Court Striking Down the All for Transportation Transit Sales Tax


 

Tampa, FL—February 26, 2021  NoTaxForTracks celebrates the Florida Supreme Court ruling yesterday that threw out the 1% All for Transportation (AFT) transit sales tax in its entirety as unconstitutional, illegal and unlawful. 


NoTaxForTracks thanks Hillsborough County Commissioner Stacy White for filing his legal challenge against AFT in 2018. We are grateful to those who supported NoTaxForTracks and our effort to get the truth out about AFT’s deceptive tax hike referendum. 


NoTaxForTracks Officer Sharon Calvert stated, “AFT was a 30 year $16 Billion rail tax that was a massive transfer of wealth from unincorporated Hillsborough to the City of Tampa. The wealthy downtown Tampa developers and special interests who funded AFT do not care about road needs in unincorporated Hillsborough.” 


AFT had charter language that conflicted with Florida State law. NoTaxForTracks publicly warned about AFT’s potential legal issues and provided that warning to local media in 2018 who failed to report about them or inform the voting public.


With the AFT transit tax gone, this is a time for a Reset.  


NoTaxForTracks Chair Karen Jaroch stated, “The AFT sales tax prohibited funding new road capacity and prioritized costly rail, that was already on the road to obsolescence, before the pandemic landed the knockout punch. This tax unlawfully took $300 for every man, woman and child in Hillsborough and the reset needs to include returning these funds back to them in the form of a rebate, which has the added benefit of providing a much-needed economic stimulus.” 


NoTaxForTracks spokesperson Jim Davison stated “The Supreme Court decision helps our struggling small businesses in a time of the pandemic and provides a second chance to fix our roads and transportation issues in a more equitable manner.


NoTaxForTracks spokesperson Tom Gaitens stated “Tyler Hudson, AFT and the BOCC owe the residents an apology for their malfeasance and violations of the Public Trust. Their rush to place a tax on Hillsborough County residents to fund their rail transit dreams not only cost taxpayers $472 million and unnecessary legal expenses, but also lost time in improving, widening and building new roads to meet the ever increasing population. Common sense tells us FixOurRoadsFirst.com". 


Hillsborough County has transportation needs that must be addressed and we will stay engaged on this issue.


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A copy of the No Tax For Tracks Statement can be found here.






Monday, February 22, 2021

Take Action to Support SB1130 and Eliminate TBARTA Once and For All!

TBARTA, the Tampa Bay Area Transit Authority, is a wasteful, duplicative and crony bureaucracy that must go. We have been advocating for eliminating TBARTA for almost a decade.

Senator Jeff Brandes has given us the opportunity to get rid of TBARTA with his SB1130 bill to dissolve TBARTA. 

Here's our latest podcast (about 5 minutes) explaining why we must get rid of TBARTA once and for all. Eliminating TBARTA will ensure this agency never becomes a regional taxing authority that would empower and enrich crony special interests.


The Florida 2021 legislative session begins March 2nd.

Take action today to help protect the taxpayer. SB1130 needs a champion and companion bill in the State House.

Voice your support for SB1130 by contacting Speaker Sprowls, Senate President Simpson and your State House and Senate Representatives at:
https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/representatives
https://www.flsenate.gov/Senators

A big Thank You to Senator Brandes for providing that rare opportunity to get rid of an unnecessary and wasteful bureaucracy.

Support Senate Bill 1130!

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Gov DeSantis Election Integrity Proposals Will Help Stop Progressive Billionaires from Meddling in Our Elections

Kudos to Governor DeSantis who proposed new measures to safeguard our elections in the state of Florida.

His press release, found here, addresses a number of important issues including prohibiting counties from receiving grants from private third-party organizations for “get out the vote” initiatives.

We found out right after the November election last year that 12 county Supervisors of Elections officials in Florida, including Hillsborough County, received "Zuckerberg" grants. Jeff Zuckerberg and his wife donated $400 million to a tax-exempt nonprofit Center for Tech and Civil Life (CTCL), a 501(c)(3) based in Chicago, IL. 

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Local politician imposes new COVID curbs…while in Canada on vacation

 Reposted with permission from The Tampa Bay Guardian 


Hillsborough County Commission Chairwoman Patricia Kemp (D) yesterday voted for two new local laws that place additional COVID restrictions on local businesses. People in Hillsborough County may no longer stand at bars to eat and drink, gather on dance floors, and so-called “congregating areas” in nightclubs are prohibited. The new ordinance also requires that businesses make a reasonable attempt to enforce these local orders.

Importantly, Kemp failed to disclose that she was chairing today’s meeting from Toronto, Canada, a city under lockdown due to COVID. Kemp is in Toronto on personal business, and will therefore currently not have to live under or enforce the new restrictions she voted for. Hillsborough county businesses, individuals and law enforcement will.

The timing and optics of Kemp’s trip to Toronto could not have been worse as the City of Toronto today reported a single-day record of 850 cases. According to the Ontario Ministry of Health, Toronto currently has 159 active outbreaks of COVID. There is therefore a real possibility that Kemp could bring COVID with her back to the Tampa Bay area.

“The more cases at your destination, the more likely you are to get infected during travel and spread the virus to others when you return,” says the Florida Department of Health in its COVID advice. Kemp’s action also calls in to question whether she actually believes that COVID is a serious public health threat. If she did, why would she travel to a COVID hotspot? And then not disclose it to constituents. Just last month, Kemp was re-elected to another 4-year term on the county commission.

Canada requires all travelers entering Canada to self-quarantine for 14 days. We asked Kemp via e-mail whether she had done so, and also asked some other questions. Kemp did not respond to our email by our publication deadline.

It is also unknown whether Kemp has followed the CDC recommendations for international travel, which call for a COVID test 1-3 days before travel, along with a long list of other steps to take. Should Kemp fall seriously ill with COVID in Toronto, whether acquired there or in the Tampa Bay area, she could add to their already overburdened healthcare system.

Toronto is currently at 86% of ICU bed capacity, and the number of cases continue to increase. On its “COVID Monitoring Dashboard” as shown below, the city reports both its “Virus Spread & Containment” status and “Overall Status” as “Red.”

Kemp voted to prohibit “congregation areas” in nightclubs, without evidence that such restrictions would alleviate COVID, while still allowing people congregate in malls, Costco, Sam’s Club, airports and other places.

As mentioned above, businesses are required to enforce all these new restrictions. However, some fed up businesses may decide that “calling the police” will be their sole enforcement mechanism.

Apart from not really believing that COVID is a crisis, it appears that Kemp also doesn’t believe that we have a “climate crisis.” Kemp spoke of a “climate crisis” during her re-election campaign. Kemp’s 2,190 air mile roundtrip to Toronto and airport transfers puts approximately 1,000 pounds of additional carbon dioxide in to the atmosphere. By comparison, the average person exhales about 2.3 pounds of carbon dioxide on an average day.


Had Kemp traveled to Toronto by bus instead of flying, her carbon dioxide impact would have been reduced by 55 – 77%. Yes, the trip would have taken longer, but do we have a crisis or don’t we?

Perhaps Pat Kemp should stay out of the county and out of the country until COVID is completely over? That way, she won’t ever have to comply with the restrictions she imposes on others, and residents won’t have to wonder if she brought back disease from that COVID hotspot she traveled to.

Kemp could also spend her time away learning a new concept: “flight shame.” It’s a sentiment that acts as an antidote to hypocrisy. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Complaint Filed in 13th Judicial Court for Recount in 3 Hillsborough County Races

A Complaint was filed yesterday in the 13th Judicial Court regarding several races in Hillsborough County.

The Plaintiffs are Sally Harris, Candidate for School Board District 7, Christine Quinn, Candidate for Congress District 14 and Scott Levinson, Candidate for County Commission District 1. The Defendant is the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections (SOE) Craig Latimer.

The results of those and all Hillsborough County races can be found at the Supervisor of Elections website.

The Complaint requests the SOE to:

  • Sequester all ballots cast in the recent election, the envelopes in which the mail in ballots were contained and such ballots as were contained in the provided envelopes
  • Order a recount of the ballots with respect to the Plaintiffs
  • Designate class and category of observers for the requested recount, authentication and final tabulation
The Complaint also focuses on mail in ballots requesting refrain from counting mail in ballots received after 7pm on November 3, 2020 and request the mail in ballots be scrutinized for accuracy.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

There are Issues with Dominion Voting Systems Software

Image courtesy of NYT 6/22/2020 

Dominion Voting Systems (Dominion), a Canadian company, is the voting system software where a "glitch" switched 6,000 votes from Trump to Biden in Michigan. That glitch peaked our interest to look further into Dominion.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Commissioner Pat Kemp Running Again But This Time With Questionable Behavior

Commissioner Pat Kemp

Did Democrat Hillsborough County commissioner Pat Kemp violate our Sunshine Laws?  It appears Kemp collaborated behind closed doors last year with fellow Democrat commissioners Kimberly Overman and Mariella Smith to collectively oppose TECO's proposed Big Bend natural gas plant after the commission had already voted their unanimous approval.