Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Hillsborough County Democrats Rail Tax Is In the Danger Zone and Worse than AFT's 2018 ILLEGAL Rail Tax

For those who think a rail/transit sales tax hike referendum could not get any worse than the All for Transportation (AFT) ILLEGAL tax perpetrated on voters in 2018, think again.

Who is responsible for putting a more nefarious rail/transit tax hike worse than AFT's on the November ballot? Democrat Hillsborough County commissioners Kimberly Overman, Mariella Smith, Harry Cohen, Gwen Myers and Pat Kemp aka the Tampa Centric 5.  

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Leaders of Tampa Bay Transportation Organizations Request Gov DeSantis Veto TBARTA Funding

Today leaders of No Tax For Tracks, Save Our Streets Pinellas, and Fix Our Roads First sent a request to Governor DeSantis urging the Governor to veto the $1.375 million funding for TBARTA in the budget. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

UPDATE: Consent Agenda Items to Hand Tampa Focused Organizations County Transportation Tax Dollars Were Removed From Today's BOCC Meeting

This is an update to our previous post Hillsborough County Using Consent Agenda to Hand Tampa Focused Organizations County Transportation Tax Dollars

Some concerned citizens contacted commissioners requesting the 3 Consent Agenda items be removed from the Consent Agenda. They also raised their objections to the County handing out taxpayer funds to these organizations.

Kudos to Commissioner White who yesterday asked for the items to be removed from the Consent Agenda so each can be discussed transparently and voted on separately.

Apparently after White's request was made, the Westshore Alliance, the wealthiest district in the Hillsborough County, suddenly decided they did not need the taxpayer funds. The Consent Agenda item handing County transportation tax dollars to the Alliance was deleted from today's agenda. 

Interestingly, the other two Consent Agenda items to hand County transportation tax dollars to the Tampa Downtown Partnership and USF's New North Transportation Alliance (NNTA) were taken off today's agenda. 

These agenda items were moved to the June 15th County commission meeting.

The County must put these items on the June 15 Regular agenda to be openly discussed and separately voted on not rubber stamped thru the Consent Agenda.

We will be watching.

Hillsborough County Hires HNTB, With PR, Marketing and Political Consulting Firms In Tow, For Transportation "Public Engagement" Before Knowing What the Campaign Will Cost Taxpayers

It is rail tax campaign time again in Hillsborough County!

Hillsborough County commissioners voted today to hire HNTB for a transportation public engagement program....right after the Tampa Centric 5 voted to put an $18 BILLION rail tax on the November ballot. 

But no one was told how much this will cost taxpayers. No cost estimate, even if just high level, was provided to the commissioners or the public for how much the County expects to spend with HNTB. 

Monday, May 2, 2022

Hillsborough County Using Consent Agenda to Hand Tampa Focused Organizations County Transportation Tax Dollars

At Wednesday's May 4, 2022 Hillsborough County Commission meeting there are 3 Consent Agenda items for the County to hand taxpayer dollars to three so-called public-private "Transportation Management Organizations" (TMO). 

Items on the Consent Agenda allow no discussion because all the items on the Consent Agenda are voted on with just one rubber stamp vote. Consent Agenda items are supposed to be used for routine, non-controversial agenda items. 

This money is flowing right after the commission voted to put the AFT 2.0 30 year ONE PERCENT (NOT ONE CENT) $18 BILLION rail tax do-over on the ballot.

All three of these TMO's are primarily Tampa focused. 

Friday, April 29, 2022

Democrat County Commissioner Pat Kemp Gets 4 Pinocchios For Claiming the ONE PERCENT AFT 2.0 Rail Tax Do-Over is a ONE CENT Tax Hike

On April 15, Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp, a Tampa Centric Democrat, spoke at Cafe Con Tampa

Kemp spoke about the proposed AFT 2.0 $18 Billion rail tax do-over. She already knew the Tampa Centric 5 Democrats (herself, Kimberly Overman, Mariella Smith, Gwen Myers, Harry Cohen) would put it on the November ballot. Kemp had to catch herself several times as she spoke because the actual vote to put it on the ballot had not yet taken place.

At Cafe Con Tampa Kemp admits what we already have said - AFT 2.0 is almost the exact same as AFT's illegal 2018 rail tax. She touted that AFT 2.0 mandates 45% ($8.2 BILLION) of the $18 BILLION tax be DEDICATED for transit. 

Kemp never said a word about DEDICATED funding for new auto/vehicle lane capacity....because AFT 2.0 has NONE

Just like AFT's illegal 2018 rail tax, the $18 BILLION AFT 2.0 rail tax provides ZERO funds dedicated for much needed new auto/vehicle lane capacity, especially in South County.

Kemp gets into real trouble on April 15th when she calls AFT 2.0 a ONE PENNY tax - go to about 8:10 in the video

Someone in the audience pushed back on Kemp that it is a ONE PERCENT (NOT ONE CENT) $18 Billion tax on the ballot. Kemp doubled down and insisted AFT 2.0 was a One Cent, One Penny tax.

Of course that is false aka a lie. Kemp was attempting to spread disinformation to obscure the truth of how massive the $18 BILLION AFT 2.0 rail tax is.

Five days later on April 20, Kemp voted at the public hearing to put AFT 2.0 on the November ballot. She voted for the County Ordinance and ballot summary language (see below) that clearly states the AFT 2.0 rail tax do-over is a 30 Year ONE PERCENT sales tax hike.

"One Cent" and/or "one penny" is nowhere to be found in the Ordinance and ballot summary language. 

Kemp's actions speak louder than her words. 

Kemp understands the burdensome funding buckets and restrictive earmarked funding percentages within the rail tax. She knows AFT 2.0 is a massive ONE PERCENT tax because that is what she voted for.

We know AFT 2.0 is an inflationary 13.3% tax hike from 7.5% to 8.5% - the highest in the State. It will add to the raging inflation rate of almost 10% in Tampa Bay. 

Kemp misrepresented AFT 2.0 as a One Cent tax - to obscure the truth that the rail tax do-over is a massive 30 year ONE PERCENT $18 BILLION tax hike.

Kemp gets Four Pinocchios for trying to spread disinformation.

Monday, April 25, 2022

As Their Constituents Struggle, Tampa Centric 5 Puts Inflationary $18 Billion AFT 2.0 Rail Tax Do-Over on November Ballot That Benefits Wealthy Special Interests Donor Base

It's On! 

The Tampa Centric 5 Democrat Hillsborough County commissioners put AFT 2.0 30 year ONE PERCENT (NOT ONE CENT) $18 BILLION rail tax do-over on the November ballot. 

Taxpayers have not been refunded one cent of the $562 MILLION of unlawfully collected 2018 AFT rail tax dollars. No problem, just put AFT 2.0 on the ballot.

The ONE public hearing (historically always 2 public hearings were held about sales tax referendums) last week was just a required checkbox in the process. Forty-four people made public comment at the hearing almost evenly split between 40 who opposed and 44 who supported. 

However, there were more people who opposed protesting the rail tax outside County Center before the hearing who did not make public comment.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Beware of "Deceptive Divas" As the Burdensome AFT 2.0 $18 BILLION "Old Path Backwards" Rail Tax Hits the November Ballot

The Tampa Centric 5 county commissioners will vote tonight at the Hillsborough County public hearing to put the AFT 2.0 30 year ONE PERCENT (NOT ONE CENT) $18 BILLION rail tax do-over on the November 2022 ballot. 

After the Florida Supreme Court threw out AFT's 2018 rail tax as illegal and unconstitutional last year, AFT's largest donor Jeff Vinik said "While today’s court ruling is a setback, we must look ahead and forge a new path forward for 2022..."

But the "new path forward" in 2022 is the "old path backwards" from 2018.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Cannot Trust Those Closely Intertwined With All for Transportation Especially As AFT 2.0 $18 BILLION Rail Tax Do-Over Is Put on the Nov. Ballot

The local rail cartel includes elected officials, unelected bureaucrats, transit activists, some local media allies, lawyers and wealthy special interests who keep funding rail tax boondoggle referendums. 

These people are closely intertwined with the pro rail All for Transportation (AFT) Political Action Committee (PAC) funded by the wealthy special interests. Their collusive behavior and cozy relationships breeds distrust.

They work together, whether ethical or not, and have stacked transportation decision making positions in Hillsborough County with themselves. The result is they reside within their own group think bubble they rarely venture out of.

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Politics Has Taken Over HART Board, Start Regime Change by Removing the 2 AFT Board Members Who Inflicted a Big Legal Mess on Hillsborough County

The All For Transportation (AFT) 
2.0 30 year 1 PERCENT (NOT 1 CENT) $18 BILLION rail tax do-over is all but assured to get on the Hillsborough County November ballot. The rail cartel's Tampa Centric 5 Democrat county commissioners have the votes to do it. 

HART's dismal ridership is less than 2% of the total population in Hillsborough County. No worries...With AFT 2.0, taxpayers will be forced to hand 45%, or about $8.2 BILLION, of the massive tax to transit agency HART. 

HART will use the new Billions, in addition to HART's current .5 millage rate property tax revenue and other revenue sources they receive, to pay for costly rail projects in Tampa that benefits wealthy downtown special interests. 

Who governs and provides oversight of HART? Who would be overseeing any new Billions to HART?

The HART Board. 

And who sits on the HART Board?

Sunday, April 3, 2022

With Every Word They Say, Every Game They Play - We'll Be Watching the 5 Democrat Commissioners Focus on Tampa Rail/Transit Not Needed New Road Capacity

We are right again! 

Hillsborough County commissioners Kimberly Overman, Mariella Smith, Harry Cohen, Gwen Myers and Pat Kemp are the Tampa Centric 5 county commissioners. All five are Democrats. Overman, Kemp and Smith are countywide commissioners whose focus is the urban core of Tampa, not unincorporated Hillsborough where most of their constituents reside. 

The Tampa Bay Business Journal (TBBJ) article confirms this in their March 23rd post about the motion by Myers for a do-over AFT 2.0 30 year ONE PERCENT (NOT ONE CENT) $18 MILLION rail tax on the November ballot:
The motion was spearheaded by Commissioner Gwen Myers, who threaded the line between the commissioners looking out for unincorporated Hillsborough County's interests (Stacy White and Ken Hagan) and the Tampa-focused commissioners (Pat Kemp, Kimberly Overman, Mariella Smith and Harry Cohen).

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

As Hillsborough Pushes $18 BILLION Rail Tax Forward the Tampa Bay Times Admits AFT 2.0 Is To Fund Transit

Hillsborough County Commission Chair Kimberly Overman said the following at last Wednesday's March 23rd BOCC meeting as she pushed to put an AFT 2.0 do-over 30 year ONE PERCENT (NOT ONE CENT) $18 BILLION rail tax on the November ballot

"A transportation improvement plan that requires a single occupancy vehicle for a family to economically survive in this County is irresponsible and will NOT be a policy that will "allow" our communities to thrive, our businesses to thrive and is "in direct conflict to our responsibility towards equity."

Monday, March 28, 2022

Dr. Jim Davison Presents Plan to Fund Transportation In Hillsborough County Without A Tax Hike

Hillsborough County can fund its transportation and transit NEEDS without a massive new sales tax hike. Go directly here to watch Dr. Jim Davison's presentation at Cafe Con Tampa last Friday of an alternative transportation funding proposal that requires no additional new taxes.

Unfortunately at last Wednesday's BOCC meeting, all of the Hillsborough County commissioners except Commissioner White voted to move forward on putting another AFT 2.0 do-over 30 year 1 PERCENT (NOT ONE CENT) $18 BILLION rail tax on the November ballot. 

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Hillsborough's On the Road Again To Putting 30 year 1 PERCENT (NOT 1 CENT) $18 BILLION AFT 2.0 Do-Over Rail Tax Hike on Ballot

Skyrocketing gas and food prices, raging inflation, many businesses and families financially struggling and so much economic uncertainty. No problem - Hillsborough's on the road to unnecessarily burden taxpayers even more with higher sales taxes, the most regressive tax that hurts the poor, lower and fixed income the most.

Monday, February 28, 2022

Shameful! Hillsborough County Deceptive Transportation "Open Houses" Mislead the Public AGAIN To Push Another Massive Tax Hike Scam

Post by Dr. Jim Davison and Sharon Calvert

All taxpayers are being hit hard by raging inflation and skyrocketing gas prices. Hillsborough County has yet to refund one penny of the unlawfully collected $512 MILLION illegal All for Transportation tax back to the taxpayers.

Some Hillsborough County commissioners and County staff don't care. Those who want to raise taxes at this time are not compassionate people. 70% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck and these commissioners want to unnecessarily burden Hillsborough county taxpayers with higher taxes. They want to unnecessarily burden struggling businesses with higher taxes.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Russia-Ukraine War Must End the Failed Globalist Agenda and Dump Biden's Costly Greenie Weenie Manifesto

End Biden's globalist Green New Deal Manifesto

Our prayers go out to the people of Ukraine. Ukraine's history is quite tragic and one of agreements made and agreements broken. Stalin tried to exterminate the Ukrainians by starving them during the Holodomor famine in the early 1930's. They are a very strong people. We are watching their courage and strength fighting Putin's Russia today.

And unfortunately we are all being harmed by the mess the ruling class globalists have created over the last decades. The fact these ruling class globalists - who only seek raw power - could not (or would not) understand that Putin also only seeks raw power - is a total failure on their part.

As a result, not only is our energy security seriously threatened, people are dying. These globalists have actual blood on their hands. And Biden is a globalist. He wants to strengthen institutions of “global governance” to empower global governance and impose global rules over sovereign nations and peoples. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Follow the Money! As the Rail Cartel Hamster Wheel Pumps Again Hillsborough County Launches Another Fraudulent Tax Hike Scam

Deja Vu Hillsborough County!  

The cronies are pumping their rail tax hamster wheel again.  

It's 2010, 2016 and 2018 in Hillsborough all over.

Instead of the County directly using Parsons Brinkerhoff and local PR crony Beth Leytham as they did with the 2016 Go Hillsborough rail tax hike scam, this go round the County just merged with the All for Transportation Transit (AFT) rail cartel cronies. The County is shamefully rewarding the very same people who funded the illegal AFT rail tax. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

#DrainTheCountySwamp Part 1: Vote Out Tax Raising Commissioner "Crony Cohen"!

The Tampa Bay Times just reported the inflation tax in Tampa Bay is raging at 9.6%. Of course everyone knows the real inflation rate of food, household goods, gas, furniture, vehicles, etc. etc. is in the double digits. 

Crony Tax Raising Harry Cohen 

Hillsborough County commissioner Harry Cohen doesn't care. He is one of the Tampa Centric 5 Democrat commissioners pushing to put another massive $18 BILLION rail tax boondoggle on the November ballot.  

Harry Cohen is running for re-election in November. He wants to burden all Hillsborough County residents and businesses with higher taxes. 

Thursday, January 27, 2022

No Surprise! 90% of "ZuckBucks" in Swing States Went to Big Blue Urban Counties, Surprise! Hillsborough County SOE Does Not Refer ANY Potential Election Crimes to State Attorney

Florida and other states including Georgia, Arizona, Ohio. Texas, Idaho, Kansas, Indiana, Texas and Tennessee passed bills that ban "private" funding of elections and/or prohibit "private" funds from being handed directly to local election officials. Democrat Governors of Michigan, Louisiana, Wisconsin and North Carolina veto'd such bills passed by their State legislatures. The Pennsylvania House passed their bill in December and has sent it over to the State Senate.

New York Congresswoman Claudia Tenney analyzed where the partisan "ZuckBucks" were handed out in 2020. No Surprise! She found that in a number of "swing states", 90% went to the Big Blue urban Counties.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Hillsborough County Commission Pursues "Equity" Agenda - Residents Can Weigh In

The Democrat majority Hillsborough County commission is using American Rescue Plan (ARP) COVID relief funds the County received last year to identify initiatives for promoting equitable outcomes. According to this 2021 County document:
The Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners has retained a strategic consultant to develop an equity profile for Hillsborough County that will be used to inform strategic equity spaces including, but not limited to, income bias, economic opportunity, health care, criminal justice, housing, land use/zoning, transportation, food security, and educational access/the digital divide. Additionally, the resulting profile and data will be used to guide the design and implementation of an “equity lens” through which actions taken by the County are examined to assess and measure questions of equity.
At the 6/16/2021 BOCC meeting, the commissioners awarded MGT of America, LLC a contract for $141,452.00, with change orders approved up to an additional $25,000, to create a Hillsborough County "equity" profile. 

On December 17, 2021, Hillsborough County posted this notice on the County's website asking residents to weigh in on "Equity". The county commission wants County processes, procedures, policies and spending be implemented through an "equity" lens.  

Monday, January 24, 2022

Pinellas Transit Loses Over Half Its Riders, Spending More Than Doubles

Repost from Tampa Bay Guardian

Three months in to its fiscal year 2022, PSTA’s bus ridership year over year has declined another 20%, according to its own official reporting. PSTA, which is the taxpayer-funded Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, ended its fiscal year 2021 (FY2021) with ridership 46% lower than it was in FY2015.

The data thus shows that the ridership in FY2022 continues to plunge, and has not stabilized after the “COVID-related” plunge over the previous 18 months.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Hillsborough SOE Craig Latimer's $2.9M "ZuckBucks" Issue and His Problematic Relationship With the Highly Partisan Democrat-Aligned Nonprofit CTCL

In September 2020 Democrat Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections (SOE) Craig Latimer took over $2.9M of "ZuckBucks". He received his "ZuckBucks" from the highly partisan Democrat activist nonprofit CTCL. There are a lot of questions that deserve answers from SOE Latimer.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Hold On To Your Wallets Hillsborough County! AFT Rail Tax Charade 2.0 is On Its Way

Hold onto your Wallets! The Tampa Bay rail cartel are at it again.

The Tampa Centric Five Democrats have the votes to put AFT 2.0, another 30 year, 1%, $16B (probably $18B now) rail tax on the ballot in November. Democrat commissioner Pat Kemp told us this last September. Having the votes is all they care about - silly little things such as refunding the illegally taken $521 MILLION AFT funds and getting real public input don't matter.   

It's a done deal. The Vinik bailed out Tampa Bay Times confirmed what we already knew:

The county scheduled a series of community meetings beginning next month in anticipation of a proposed sales tax referendum on the November ballot.

The Town Hall meetings charade the commissioners planned to have last year have been rescheduled. As we noted before, the commissioners ignore the fastest growing area in Hillsborough, South County, where they scheduled NO meetings.

It looks like the County renamed these meetings to "Open Houses" because they are NOT Town Hall meetings where those who attend get to publicly speak.

What is an Open House? It's an "informal" event for the public to "drop by" anytime during the hours of the Open House to view an exhibition or whatever the Open House "host" is trying to sell the public. 

These meetings are to sell the public that the County has no money to fund transportation in the County. That is a lie and we've seen that rodeo before.

Monday, January 3, 2022

Happy New Year Tampa Bay! Tampa Democrats REMOVE FDOT's Plan to Widen/Improve I-275 North of Downtown

Tampa Centric Five

Happy New Year Tampa Bay from the Tampa Centric Five Democrats on the Hillsborough County Commission. 

The Tampa Centric Five appointed themselves to Hillsborough County's Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) and sent their Happy New Year wishes for more traffic congestion in Tampa Bay. 

As they ironically expressed their concerns about "rapid growth" in Tampa Bay, they voted to ELIMINATE FDOT's plan to improve and add capacity to 10 miles of I-275 from downtown to Bearss Avenue. 

This FDOT I-275 improvement project has been in FDOT's plans for decades. The project has been in Hillsborough TPO's Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) for years and years as North Hillsborough and south Pasco growth has exploded...until the Tampa Centric Five Democrats appointed themselves to the TPO.