Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Sales Tax Ordinance 13- 034 The WHEREAS Part 1

Actually you are not directly voting on the GreenLight Plan. You are voting to make Ordinance 13 -34 a law. This is an important distinction, because Ordinance 13- 34 will become a law if the referendum succeeds, but the GreenLight Plan does not.

This Post continues a series where we look at The Sales Tax Ordinance, Ordinance 13- 34, and compare it to what is being said by the sales tax supporters.

Here is a link to the actual Ordinance (Law) that you are being asked to approve in the sales Tax Referendum: Greenlight Pinellas Tax Ordinance.

Here we look at the Whereas Section

WHEREAS, pursuant to Chapter 163, Florida Statutes, and the Acts, the Board is authorized and intends to enter into an interlocal agreement with the PST A remitting the Surtax proceeds to the PSTA for the improvement, construction, operation, maintenance and financing of public transit benefitting Pinellas County, including an expanded bus system with bus rapid transit, increased frequency and extended hours, and local passenger rail and regional connections (the "Interlocal Agreement"); and

You will note the NOWHERE in this Ordinance are these interlocal agreements defined. They were to be defined AFTER the Sales Tax referendum passes.

To help shore up the really poor construction of the Ordinance Pinellas County and the PSTA have now completed a 7000 word interlocal Agreement that is supposed to clarify this Ordinance. The Problem is: The Ordinance will become law and the Agreement is just that an Agreement that can be ignored by PSTA or changed at any time with no citizen input.

In other words the County is asking you to Tax yourselves $130 million dollars a year, and telling you they will set up a series of agreements with PSTA, possibly TBARTA and who knows who else to spend these tax dollars after you pass the taxing Ordinance.

 At that point with the sales tax Ordinance now law, the public has no say into how this money will distributed or spent and no guarantee that the GreenLight plan will be part of these interlocal agreements.

WHEREAS, the use of Surtax revenues for the repayment of bonds and other obligations or indebtedness incurred to provide public transit is appropriate and permissible in accordance with the Acts; and

This Whereas and Section it supports is the pivotal part of this Ordinance.

The supporting sections in the actual Ordinance set up the whole purpose for this Ordinance which is to as quickly as possible get a bond issue up to the County Commission which will obligate a large portion or more likely all of the sales tax revenue to a bond issue or a series of bond issues which will be specific in purpose (build a train).

At that point, should the bond issue be approved by the County Commission, which it likely would be, this sales tax or whatever portion of it is pledged to the bonds, becomes a permanent fixture for the life of the bonds and cannot be used for any other purpose.

It is also important to point out that once pledged as bond revenue the sales tax or the portion pledged cannot be cancelled or rescinded until the bond obligation is satisfied.

The recently approved PSTA/Pinellas County Interlocal Agreement allows for financing terms to run for 50 years plus two 20 year options. That means Pinellas will likely have the highest sales tax in Florida for nearly the next 100 years. All for a train few will ride.

e-mail Doc at:, or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb)Friend request. See More of Doc at Bay Post Internet, St.Pete Patch, Gulfport Patch, Clearwater Patch, Palm Harbor Patch, Largo Patch.
Disclosures: Contributor to No Tax for Tracks

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