Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Go On Offense and Take No Risk: Vote NO on AFT Tax Hike at Bottom of the Nov. Ballot

Go on offense Hillsborough County voters. 

Vote NO on the misleading and deceptive All for Transportation (AFT) $23 BILLION transit tax hike on the November ballot. 

Taxpayers must not find themselves in another precarious position where unlawful tax dollars are collected from them again.

Stop the abusive use of misleading tax hike ballot summary language for political gain! 

On October 10th, Circuit Court Judge Anne-Leigh Gaylord Moe ruled the massive transit tax was misleading and confusing and therefore unlawful. She removed the tax hike referendum from the ballot.

The same feckless Tampa Centric 5 Democrat county commissioners who put the misleading and confusing AFT transit tax on the ballot voted to hire expensive outside lawyers to appeal Moe's ruling.  

Judge Moe has called a hearing for tomorrow, October 27th at 2:30pm. Oral arguments from both sides will be heard regarding the Plaintiff's Motion to Vacate the Automatic Stay Pending Appeal.

Moe's October 10th ruling came as hundreds of thousands of mail ballots had been sent out and voters were already voting. Voters were swamped with heavy local media coverage of the Judge's ruling with headlines declaring the Judge "rejects, nullifies, removes, blocks, throws off" the AFT transit tax referendum from the ballot.

The AFT tax hike referendum is now tainted. It is reasonable to believe that confidence in the integrity of the referendum election results is now in question. 

The County is telling voters to keep voting on the tainted AFT transit tax referendum that is still printed at the bottom of the November ballot.

So go on offense.

Take NO Risk ending up with another $600M refund mess like the 2018 illegal AFT tax hike. 

Vote NO on the All for Transportation (AFT) sales tax referendum at the bottom of the November ballot. 

Friday, October 14, 2022

As 5 Democrat Commissioners Vote to Appeal AFT Ruling - Special Interests Dump Over $166K More Into Unlawful Sales Tax

 AFT's special interests donors
and their minions 

According to the All for Transportation (AFT) latest campaign filing, special interests dumped over $166K more into the AFT sales tax that was ruled unlawful on Monday.

As we posted here, AFT's wealthy special interests donors are calling in their chits with the 5 Democrat county commissioners (Kimberly Overman, Harry Cohen, Mariella Smith, Gwen Myers, Pat Kemp) who voted to put another unlawful AFT sales tax hike on the ballot. 

No wonder BOCC Chair Overman scheduled yesterday's special meeting an hour before another meeting was already scheduled. No wonder the 5 Democrats voted to cut public comment to 90 seconds. 

The meeting was a joke. It was just an administrative requirement they had to hold because the 5 had already made their decision. Gwen Myers told the public that on Tuesday. The optics from the meeting were a three ring circus. 

The 5 Democrat commissioners had already taken direction from AFT and their wealthy elitists donors. They voted to put another unlawful AFT sales tax, crafted behind closed doors and outside Sunshine, back on the ballot.

Now AFT's wealthy special interests let these 5 commissioners know what they must do "for them". The special interests will be enriched and benefit the most from the $23 BILLION AFT sales tax so they buy influence. 

Below are the latest special interests donors to dump their dollars into AFT. This information was taken from the Hillsborough County SOE's website


AFT special interests donors
dump over $166K more into unlawful sales tax

This is why no AFT leader or anyone associated with AFT showed up last night to speak in support of the appeal. Their special interests bosses had already called in the chits to the 5 commissioners so there was no need for AFT to show up and say anything. They knew their deal was done.

The Tampa Centric 5 Democrat county commissioners are NOT working for the taxpayers of Hillsborough County. 

They are working for AFT's wealthy special interests donors.

And that is why, even after being warned, the 5 Democrat commissioners voted last night to waste more taxpayer dollars to appeal Monday's AFT ruling. 

The chits were called in and the favors had to be done.

This is corruption and it must be stopped 

Hillsborough County taxpayers must stop being abused by these 5 Democrat commissioners who are incompetent and negligent stewards of their tax dollars.

Voters can get rid of Overman, Cohen and Smith in November so do it!

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Very Risky Business! 5 Democrat Commissioners Vote to Appeal Judges Ruling Throwing the AFT Sales Tax Off the Ballot

Tampa Centric 5 Democrat
county commissioners vote to appeal AFT ruling

A special BOCC meeting was called by BOCC Chair Kimberly Overman today at 5pm today. At the meeting, the Tampa Centric 5 Democrat commissioners voted to use taxpayer money to hire outside legal counsel and appeal Judge Moe's AFT ruling. 

Judge Moe ruled Monday from the bench to throw the All for Transportation (AFT) Sales Tax referendum off the ballot because it is misleading to the voters. 

Overman called the special meeting at 5pm, an hour before a 6pm commission meeting that had already been scheduled. 

The special meeting was noticed to the public that those who wished to speak would have 3 minutes to make their public comment. The County Attorney clearly stated that the 6pm meeting can start late, it just cannot start earlier than 6pm.

But the Tampa Centric 5 wanted to get the special meeting over as quickly as possible because they had already made their decision. Gwen Myers told the Tampa Bay Times on Tuesday the county was appealing:

Commissioner Gwen Myers said the county will appeal a judge’s ruling voiding the transportation tax referendum.
About thirty-three citizens had properly signed up for public comment expecting to have 3 minutes to speak. 

The 5 Democrat commissioners who consistently lecture about citizens having a voice, did not want to hear citizens voices at the special meeting. They voted to cut public comment to 90 seconds. 

The 5 commissioners punished the citizens who wanted to speak because Overman chose to schedule this special meeting, to discuss a very important issue, an hour before another meeting. 

The citizens who took the time to signup to speak were not at fault but the 5 commissioners punished them anyway. Horrible optics! 

About 10 people who signed up to speak did not speak after the 5 commissioners took half of the speaking time away. 

Kudos to Commissioner White for diplomatically bringing up numerous reasons why the County should not appeal. 

Remember White won his lawsuit last year that threw out the 2018 illegal AFT sales tax.

The 5 Democrat commissioners totally ignored White's pragmatic warnings and Pat Kemp and Harry Cohen are lawyers. 

The meeting became a circus as the 5 Democrat commissioners made emotional pleas, tried to paint themselves as victims and want to blame everyone else for the big messes they keep creating. Harry Cohen's loud rant was quite a show. 

Instead of making their case for appealing the ruling, the 5 commissioners made the case for their own incompetence and negligence. They are incapable of properly managing the County's $8.5 BILLION budget. 
So the 5 Democrat commissioners voted to spend more taxpayer money hiring more legal counsel and appealing the ruling. 

That money would be better spent filling potholes.

What the 5 Democrat commissioners are doing is risky business that could subject taxpayers to more litigation/lawsuits and another big refund issue.

Watch the meeting here.  

Commissioners Overman, Cohen and Smith are up for re-election.

Voters Beware!

More to come.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

AFT's Special Interests Donors Call In Their Chits But Judge's Ruling Taints AFT Tax Hike So Take NO Risk and VOTE NO!

AFT Monopoly Men 

Monday the All for Transportation supporters struck out again. Circuit Court Judge Gaylord Moe ruled the All for Transportation (AFT) Sales Tax Hike ballot language is misleading and confusing to voters and struck the referendum from the November ballot. 

Now AFT's wealthy special interests donors are calling in their Chits.  

AFT's rich monopoly men, with money bags in tow, are wanting their donor favors returned and a "return on investment" of the donor dollars they have waged on Overman, Cohen, Smith, Myers and All for Transportation.

Yesterday Hillsborough County commissioner Gwen Myers told the Tampa Bay Times  the County will appeal the judge's ruling. 

We’re going to appeal this and ask voters to keep voting for this while it’s on the ballot now,” said Myers.

Myers, who has championed the tax referendum since her 2020 election to the commission, initially said she would consider scheduling a special election if an appeal is successful.

But Gwen Myers does not speak for all 7 commissioners. The county commissioners have not met yet to discuss the appeal issue and Florida Statute 212.055 requires all local sales surtax referenda must be held in a general election.

BOCC Chair Kimberly Overman released a statement yesterday calling for a special BOCC meeting for Thursday, October 13, 2022 at 5pm. Her statement yesterday, October 11, 2022, was incompetently dated August 4, 2022. 

Citizens can sign up to make public comment virtually or at the meeting tomorrow or send a written comment here.

Overman's statement claims:

We cannot afford to wait another 2 years to find relief for those who need these transportation improvements the most. 
We cannot continue with the status quo.

The status quo is the County being negligent, incompetent and not properly funding the County's transportation needs.

The damaging status quo is because Overman and the 4 other commissioners (Cohen, Smith, Myers and Kemp), who put the AFT sales tax hike on the ballot, eliminated the 2017 $840 Million 10 year transportation funding policy. 

The damaging status quo is because these 5 commissioners eliminated a 10 year  transportation plan funded by using the growth of existing revenues. 

Public safety and infrastructure are the top priorities and responsibilities of all local government. Roads are the largest infrastructure asset the County owns. 

Overman and the other 4 commissioners have failed to do their job. They have failed to properly fund a primary responsibility of county government.

These 5 commissioners prefer massive new tax hikes at a time of raging inflation instead of doing their job and making the hard budget decisions the rest of us must make everyday. 

What is sobering is all the special interests including Jeff Vinik, Darryl Shaw, Ron Christaldi and Tampa General, who have dumped thousands of dollars into Overman, Smith, Cohen and Myers campaigns. 

What is alarming is these wealthy special interests are financially supporting commissioners who have failed to do their job. The special interests would never run their own businesses or household budgets with such neglect and incompetence these 5 commissioners have for years imposed on the taxpayers of Hillsborough County.

The special interests refuse to hold the 5 commissioners accountable for their negligence. Instead they buy influence.

Money talks and now the special interests are calling in their chits. 

They want the County to waste your tax dollars to appeal Monday's ruling. 

Protect your wallet. Do not allow another illegal AFT sales tax create another AFT big huge refund issue. 

Taxpayers must NOT be put at risk of having illegal sales tax dollars taken from them AGAIN.

Take NO risk with the AFT sales tax printed on your ballot.    

Just Vote NO! 

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Breaking: All for Transportation Sales Tax Ballot Measure Violates Hillsborough County Charter

The All for Transportation (AFT) Sales Tax Ballot Measure on the Hillsborough County November ballot violates Section 8.05 of the County's Charter

Section 8.05 requires that all County referendums include a Financial Impact Statement (FIS) in the referendum's ballot summary language. The FIS is not included in the AFT sales tax ballot measure. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

FACTS Expose the Deceptive Pro Rail Tax Disinformation Campaign

Guest post from Dr. Jim Davison who has been involved in the transportation issue in Hillsborough County for over 25 years

Voters in Hillsborough County have been getting mailers from All For Transportation (AFT) extolling their plan for transportation and what a $23 billion sales tax will do for you. 

AFT says their claims are based on the Hillsborough County Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) 4 year old 2045 20 year Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP). 

AFT uses their massive 30 year tax to fund an outdated 20 year TPO plan. That is certainly deceptive. But is using a 30 year tax to fund a 20 year plan also fraudulent? 

Let us look at AFT's claims and determine the facts. 

Claim: 700,000 people are moving to Hillsborough County

Fact: Yes, we all know Hillsborough County is great place to live, but what part of the county are they moving to? The vast majority of the increased population in Hillsborough County will be to the unincorporated areas, > 500,000 of the 700,000. Only about 100,00 to the city of Tampa.

Claim: We All benefit from the sales tax and the AFT plan

Fact: AFT states the tax is split 3 ways; 45% to Transit (HART), 54.5% for roads and 0.5% for planning. That statement is misleading. The Mobility Director for the city of Tampa presented the real split to the BOCC; 45% to HART, 39.9% to Hillsborough County, 12% to Tampa and 2.1% to Plant City & Temple Terrace. This is the actual way the revenues will be split and then the different governments will spend the money how they see fit. Hillsborough County with 70% of the present population and growing by over 500,000 more people will get only 40% of the sales tax. HART with less than 2% of commuters gets 45%. Greater than 50% of the sales tax will be spent within the City of Tampa. Some benefit more than Animal Farm.

Claim: Less Traffic. You will be home in time for dinner.

Fact: The Transportation Planning Organization’s (TPO) own studies show a 4 to 5 minutes increase in the average commute and a 295% increase in vehicle hours of delay. You are going to be late with this Plan.

Claim: Safer Roads. A 35% decrease in crashes and fatalities.

Fact: The TPO’s own studies show that there is no difference in the number of crashes and deaths on Local Roads with or without the tax. Yes, the same amount. The TPO also used revenues not available for their use in safety study and did not include the increase in crashes and deaths that rail and rail stations will have on the road network. Deaths on our roads have gone up despite many cars off the road during the pandemic.

Claim: Citizen Oversight. Another Big Lie.

Fact: The AFT Plan calls for and Independent Oversight Committee to be formed and paid for only by the County. The make-up of the committee will include 3 members each appointed by HART, the County and City of Tampa (9 members). Hillsborough County with 70% of the population, Tampa with 27% of the population and HART, a transit agency with 2% ridership, have equal representation. Plant City and Temple Terrace have one member each. 
This is what AFT calls "fair" representation. 

It is not an "Independent" Oversight Committee because the same people who put the $23 Billion tax on the ballot are the same people who will be appointing their members to the committee.  

The only redeeming aspect of this Committee is that they have no power to do anything about how the tax funds are spent - only the county commissioners can make those decisions. The Committee is just another “advisory” bureaucracy taxpayers will be forced to pay for.

All For Transportation states their plan will fix our roads and sidewalks.

Truth lies in an April 19, 2022 memo that John Lyons, the Director of Public Works sent to the Hillsborough County commissioners. Lyons tells the commissioners that with the 30 year $23 Billion sales tax and the allocations per Ordinance 22-9 roads would only be resurfaced once every 30 years. 

The TPO states that with a schedule of repaving once every 28 years the county will have a $1 billion deficit in road maintenance in the next 20 years. 


This is just a sampling of the disinformation and outright lies All For Transportation and their rich financial backers are trying to sell the voters.

Do yourself, your neighbors and your Community a favor:

    Demand the Truth. 

    Demand a Reprioritization of Existing Record Revenues. 

    Demand the County FIX Our Roads First.

And Fight an inflationary Tax:  VOTE NO on the Sales Tax Hike in November!

Monday, October 3, 2022

Voters Not Supporting Pro Rail Tax Campaign, AFT's Claim They Are "Community" Supported Rated Liar Liar Pants On Fire False

Pro Rail Tax PAC All for Transportation (AFT) claims they are a "citizen-led" effort supported by the "Community". 

That is not true! Voters are already rejecting the $23 BILLION Rail Tax by not supporting AFT's Pro Tax campaign.

Every single donor to the Pro Rail Tax PAC All for Transportation (AFT) is a special interest - according to AFT's latest campaign filings found on the SOE website (select Political Committee Reports from the drop down).

Not one voter or one individual has donated to AFT to support AFT'S $23 BILLION Rail Tax campaign of deception.