Thursday, July 24, 2014

Poll Shows Solid Opposition to Greenlight Pinellas

The results of a July 22nd poll done by St. Pete Polls on Greenlight Pinellas has been released. This poll was taken of 764 registered Pinellas voters, who voted in 2010 and 2012, and has a margin of error of 3.5%.

The poll results reflect solid opposition against the Greenlight Pinellas sales tax referendum, for which most of the money would go to build a light rail from downtown St. Petersburg to downtown Clearwater.

The proposed train in Pinellas may already be falling off its tracks.
Greenlight Pinellas falling off its tracks
Over 55% of those polled would vote NO if the referendum were held today. Over 68% are opposed to having the highest sales tax in the state as well as 78% polled oppose if it will cost households over $4000.
St Pete Polls results on Greenlight Pinellas

St Pete Polls results on Greenlight Pinellas
The poll data results can be found here.

We are not surprised to see increasing opposition to Greenlight Pinellas. It is apparent that many taxpayers in Pinellas do not want the highest sales tax in the state. They also must see little, if any, benefit from the permanent 14% sales tax increase that raises taxes $100 million a year into perpetuity to build a light rail they won't ride.

Taxpayer funded PSTA is spending about a million taxpayer dollars to "educate" the public. The pro rail PAC, Yes for Greenlight aka Friends of Greenlight, has already raised almost $600K to advocate for the train. 

Ironically this poll, like some others, indicates the more voters and taxpayers get "educated" about the referendum, the more they oppose it. But it's hard to sell a bad product and Greenlight Pinellas is a lousy product. 

Voters in Pinellas are figuring it out:  Rail costs too much, does too little and benefits too few.

What this poll reflects is that Greenlight's pro rail "deep pockets" may be winning special interests and their accommodating elected officials, but the grassroots NoTaxForTracks Pinellas "shallow pockets" campaign is winning the voters.    

Looks like Deja Vu circa 2010.


  1. What a joke.

    Firstly, the survey was funded by "Ax the Tax." Hmmmm, I wonder what the pseudo scientific bias is here? Also, the questions only mentions "light rail."
    That's not all that the Greenlight Pinellas proposal represents. They forgot to mention the 65% increase in overall bus service throughout Pinellas County. But hey, when you're trying to slant your argument and force answers out of people, cherry-picking your narrative is fair game, right?

    It's not just a "light rail tax." So the question:
    "Given all that you know about the propose light rail tax, are you more likely or less likely to vote for the rail tax?"
    ...Is not a legitimate question since no "light rail tax" exists. So, although this misguided poll shows statistics based on these non-existent contexts, the numbers actually serve no purpose as they are referencing things that don't exist.

    I would like to also add, that this poll was conducted by phone and, anecdotally (I mean sorry Pollsters, "scientifically), I know of no one who picks up unknown numbers that show up on their caller ID with any sort of regularity...soooooo, who might you think was actually sitting idol, at home, with no caller ID, picking up their phone whenever it rang?

    Lastly, this post is from Sharon Calvert who is posting a blog about something her organization funded, that asks overtly biased questions about something that doesn't exist (a "light rail tax"), from a phone survey in which people had to willingly pick up a call from an unknown number...enough said.

    In other news, 68% of Pinellas Residents are also opposed to "Free Unicorn Rides" that would be funded by an "ad valorem livestock stable tax."

  2. Ryan, your post is quite amusing but where did I fund this poll? I had nothing to do with this poll and didn't know about it until the results were published. The ONLY reason PSTA wants a 14% tax increase (which is the increase from 7-8%) and a $100 million a year tax increase is to get access to a future revenue stream to bond out to build a multi-billion rail. PSTA doesn't need a $100 million a year tax increase to improve their bus service. When the debt interest is tacked on (which no one talks about of course), the total cost is over $3 BILLION for ONE rail line from downtown St. Pete to downtown Clearwater. In addition rail lines must be totally replaced or rehabbed every 25-30 years. There's no funding in this plan to do that so where's another $3 Billion or more at future costs going to come from in the future when it's needed? No one talks about that either. Hillsborough County, larger than Pinellas, can DOUBLE their bus service for about $400 million and the can do that long before any train is built. PSTA can improve their bus service ,and buses are more cost-effective, efficient, flexible and moves people better from where they are to where they want to go, at a fraction of the costly Greenlight Pinellas plan. In addition, Pinellas transit weekday ridership is about 45K, less than the 50K in Hillsborough County. This recent transit assessment for Hillsborough basically states Hillsborough does NOT have the ridership to meet the FTA criteria to qualify for federal funds: If Hillsborough can't qualify, how can Pinellas qualify for federal funds and Greenlight requires over 32% of the capital monies to come from the feds. What happens when Pinellas can't qualify for the federal funding for a train? Who then pays? What does Pinellas do with all the tax dollars they collected to fund the rail? When the public understands they don't need a huge tax increase to fix their bus service and the risks involved with this bad plan - they reject it. It only takes 4th grade math to understand the financial risks of this plan. An educated voter about the facts quickly sees that. Greenlight is a bad plan and PSTA should go back to the drawing board and figure ut how they can improve their bus service. But your comment did bring some comic relief.

  3. As a long term Liberal and transplant from a large northeastern city with an extensive public transit system, I still cannot support the current plan. Why not? Because it creates a new tax with no end date. Improved public transit is a good idea - fine. It costs money to build infrastructure - fine. Let's make a new tax that never ends so we can fund whatever we can think up next - sorry, that's fiscally irresponsible. Put a five year limit on phase one and you have my vote. Show me how well spent the money was by the improvements it was able to accomplish and I'll vote for a five year extension. But blow that money on bureaucracy and special payouts to development committees and lawyers, and you're out.

    People, don't be fooled into signing a blank check in perpetuity. I've lived in cities where that mistake was made too and the citizens there will regret it for life.