On Tuesday, Aug. 12, the Pinellas County Republican Executive Committee released a statement announcing their opposition to Greenlight Pinellas, the proposed 1% sales tax referendum to fund improved mass transit in the county.
The statement says:
"A motion was raised by one of our Committee members to oppose the Greenlight Pinellas sales tax referendum, and was approved unanimously by our membership..."
It goes on to say:
"...a sales tax increase which would unduly hurt those who most use public transportation makes little sense."
However, not all Pinellas GOP members feel that way.
Pinellas County Commissioner for District 4, Susan Latvala says she is embarrassed that the GOP decided to make their motion public.
As the election nears, voters need to be assess what they hear about Greenlight Pinellas.
"Those same people are very supportive of job creation and stimulating the economy. Greenlight Pinellas is going to do that," she said.
While the motion doesn't directly impact the vote which happens on Nov. 4, Greenlight supporters fear that those of you who aren't up to speed on what the referendum is about may vote along party lines based on limited information.
Also, see below the release put out by the Pinellas County GOP Executive Committee:
On Monday, August 11th, 2014 the Pinellas County Republican Executive Committee (PCREC) passed a resolution to oppose the one percentage point sales tax increase proposed via the Greenlight Pinellas referendum on the November 4th, 2014 ballot.
"A motion was raised by one of our Committee members to oppose the Greenlight Pinellas sales tax referendum, and was approved unanimously by our membership," said Michael J. Guju, Esq., Chairman of the PCREC. "Republicans stand for small, efficient, and effective government with reduced taxation and regulation. We believe that this proposed sales tax increase would do more harm than good, especially to the county's poorest residents, disabled veterans and our seniors on fixed incomes. Though many Pinellas Republicans support public transportation, and want to see it expanded and made more efficient, a sales tax increase which would unduly hurt those who most use public transportation makes little sense."
On November 4th, 2014, Pinellas County residents will vote on a referendum to decide whether or not to increase the sales tax from 7% to 8% per dollar spent (with minimal exclusions) for improved bus service and a single light rail line from downtown Clearwater to Downtown St. Petersburg. This sales tax increase would make Pinellas county the highest taxed county in the State of Florida.
We believe that additional burden placed on low and fixed-income residents, disabled veterans, and renters of all ages by the proposed sales tax increase would be too great. We, therefore, declare our opposition to the Greenlight Pinellas referendum and support a renewed effort to improve the public transit system in Pinellas County.