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.
Section 5. Conduction of Referendum Election. The Board hereby calls a referendum election and directs the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections to conduct such election in conjunction with the General Election on November 4, 2014, for the submission of a referendum question to the electors of Pinellas County to determine whether a majority of electors voting in the election are in favor of the levy of the Surtax on transactions occurring within Pinellas County as provided by law. Reasonable costs associated with conducting said election shall be paid by the County.
This Section formally calls for the Referendum to approve the sales tax increase and indicates the County will pay for the costs associated with the referendum.
Section 6. Ballot Title and Summary. (a) In accordance with the Acts, and Section 101.161, Florida Statutes, the following ballot title and summary are approved for submission to the electors of Pinellas County, Florida, for approval or rejection by a majority of the electors voting in the referendum election scheduled for November 4, 2014. The official ballot shall be in substantially the following form:
Title: Levy of Countywide One Percent Sales Surtax to Fund Greenlight Pinellas Plan for Public Transit.
Summary: Shall 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, local passenger rail and regional connections be funded by levying a one percent sales surtax from January 1, 2016 until repealed, with the proceeds deposited in a dedicated trust fund?
___ YES, for the 1% sales surtax
___ NO, against the 1% sales surtax
This is the actual language you will see on your ballot.
The Title of this referendum contains the Words Greenlight Pinellas Plan but there is no place in the actual Ordinance you are being asked to approve that specifically assigns or dedicates any specific funds or percentage of funds to the GreenLight plan. The Ballot language was carefully crafted to support the preplanned marketing effort and to mislead voters.
This is the only place these words (GreenLight Plan) appear in this Ballot Language and they only appear one other place the Sales Tax Ordinance.
The Objective here is to attempt to tie all of that advertising and information you will be getting in the mail supporting this initiative to the ballot referendum.
You will note that the official Ballot Language Summary does not contain the words Greenlight Pinellas.
Section 7. Notice of Election. The Clerk shall publish notice of the referendum in accordance with Section 100.342, Florida Statutes, on the following dates: October 1, 2014 and October 15,2014.
This Section sets the formal Publication Notices that will appear in the legal section of a local news paper, and be posted on public bulletin boards.