Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sunday August 3, 2014 The Sales Tax Ordinance - It's a Bad Law

On November 4, 2014 Pinellas County voters are being asked to tax themselves and our visitors $100 Million dollars more for public transportation than they are now paying.

There has already been a lot of hype about the "Greenlight" plan but very little conversation about the actual Ordinance the voters are being asked to approve.

Ordinance 13-  34 was written by the PSTA, its legal staff and advisers and according to the Pinellas County Commission accepted with almost no changes.

Here is a link to the Ordinance: Greenlight Pinellas Tax Ordinance

While Greenlight supporters would have voters believe that this Referendum is all about public transportation, the actual Ordinance says almost nothing about the Greenlight plan. In fact the term Greenlight is never defined and only appears twice in the entire Ordinance.

A word search of the document reveals the following

 WORD                                   OCCURRENCE
Greenlight                                           2
Bond(s)                                               5
Financing                                            2
Refinancing                                         2
Indebtedness                                      5
Interlocal agreement                           5
Bus                                                      8
Passenger Rail                                   4
Approve                                               2
Audit                                                    0
Report                                                 0

Like most Ordinances, this one is long and the language can be a bit confusing. Voters need to take a look at what they are actually voting for in the Sales Tax Referendum.

Once approved this poorly crafted Ordinance becomes law and will be almost impossible to amend or repeal.

Beginning Monday August 4 and continuing for 4 weeks, I will present a series of 12 Posts that look at Ordinance 13- 34 in detail.

Please follow along and know what the Ordinance says before you vote. Your thoughts and comments would be appreciated.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am opposed to Ordinance 13- 34 simply because I believe it is a poorly crafted Ordinance that provides instantaneous excessive revenue flow to PSTA, has virtually no financial controls or reporting requirements, allows the PSTA far too easy access to financing, and provides no mandates that the bus system will actually be expanded before the funds are obligated to bonds to build a passenger rail project.

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

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