Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Property Tax Revenues Increase 15.3% But Hillsborough County Refuses to Prioritize Funding Roads....Again

Hillsborough County's budget is an abomination and taxpayers in Hillsborough County should be revolting. 

For the last 15 years, Hillsborough County has refused to properly prioritize road funding, a primary responsibility of local government. Roads are Hillsborough County's largest asset but the County continues to neglect to appropriately maintaining and improving them. 

That must change with the FY24 budget. Taxpayers must demand property tax revenues be used to fund roads and transportation.

Hillsborough's budget irresponsibly prioritizes the funding of pork projects, pet projects, a bigger bureaucracy and wants over needs. The budget demonstrates poor governance, lack of transparency and lack of accountability. It is shameful!

In preparation of the FY24 budget, the County held a budget workshop on May 10, 2023. County Administrator Bonnie Wise stated she will be presenting her recommended FY24 budget to the county commissioners at the July 12, 2023 BOCC meeting. 

The video of the May 10, 2023 Budget workshop is found here.  

At this Workshop, Wise states the Budget overview presentation highlights how funding is allocated amongst various uses of the funds. She also highlights the two property tax revenue streams the commissioners have the MOST DISCRETION in "their" spending - the Countywide General Funds and the Unincorporated General Funds. 

Since 2018 property tax revenue increases have averaged about 10.15% per year including a whopping 15.3% increase in FY23. 

In addition, the value of taxable property has almost doubled since 2018.

The population grew about 5.5% since 2018 - on average less than 1% per year. Inflation was very low until 2021 when Biden Admin policies sent inflation soaring. 

The average inflation rate since 2018 is 4%. Property tax revenues have been growing faster than population growth plus inflation even with today's higher inflation rate.

Yet the County continues to claim there's "no money" to fund roads which is totally false.....because the County has a spending problem not a revenue problem.

The County bureaucracy is a big part of the County's spending problem. Once again the County ignores funding the largest asset the county owns - roads. Nowhere in the "characteristics" of where property tax revenues are spent is funding for roads. This is an abomination.

With record property tax revenues flowing in, below is what Wise recommended for how growth property tax/general revenues be spent. 

MIA is any funding for roads and transportation. Also missing is any dollar amount associated with these "uses".  This is unacceptable. 

The commissioners need to tell Bonnie Wise to go back to the budget drawing board. Take note of any county commissioner who does not question why funding roads is not included. 

Remember as property tax revenues kept rising, Hillsborough County received over $703 MILLION in COVID Relief Funding that opened up a firehose of new spending, especially for social welfare programs.

The County's latest COVID funding spending report aka their marketing brochure will be handed to the county commissioners today. 

For about 15 years, Hillsborough County has refused to properly been holding road funding hostage for transit tax boondoggles

Historically, property tax general revenues always funded roads and transportation in Hillsborough County....until 2008.

When the recession hit in 2008 Hillsborough County removed every penny of property tax revenues from transportation funding. 

While the total elimination of general fund property tax revenues in 2008 for transportation funding was supposed to be temporary to get thru the housing bubble wasn't. 

As property tax revenues came back, the County never put property tax revenues back to funding transportation except for a year or two - FY2017 and FY2018.  Taxpayers forced the issue after the 2016 Go Hillsborough scandal that resulted in a law enforcement investigation. 

However, a new Democrat majority county commission in 2019 eliminated the property tax funding again because they supported the illegal All for Transportation massive transit sales tax hikes. 

Now the County is complaining about the high inflation and higher costs. 

But the County should have been properly funding roads for over a decade. Due to negligently and irresponsibly not doing that, taxpayers are forced to now pay much higher costs for work that should have been paid for when inflation and costs were much lower. 

So now the new Republican majority county commission must prioritize road funding in the County's FY24 budget. They must break off a percentage of the current millage rate and use a percentage of growth funds and earmark those general revenue dollars to fund roads - especially in unincorporated Hillsborough. 

And if County Administrator Bonnie Wise cannot figure out how to properly fund roads with general funds/property tax revenues, the County needs a new Administrator ASAP.

1 comment:

  1. Great post and to the point. It is not only that the democratic majority from 2019 to 2022 remove and finally cancelled the Transportation Plan passed in 2016, they don't want to build any roads at all and have actively blocked or attempted to block roads being improved or new roads being built with state dollars. So if they get back in power you will never get roads built. Even with the sales tax roads were poorly funded. How many times do the people of Hillsborough county have to be lied to. DEMOCRATICS DON'T BUILD ROADS.