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Hillsborough BOCC moves forward with implementing where transportation sales tax will go

Posted at 4:44 PM, Jul 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-06 06:49:09-04

What is the 'All For Transportation' tax?

In November, voters approved a sales tax to go towards transportation issues in Hillsborough County.

The sales tax push was led by All For Transportation, a citizen generated group, that implemented percentages of how the money would be spent. They also had an independent oversight committee.

According to AFT, the tax would go to fund things like new roads, fixing sidewalks and mass transit. Projections have the sales tax increase bringing in $280 million a year.

The breakdown was as follows:

  • 55% will go to Hillsborough County and its cities for road maintenance and projects to improve traffic flow.
  • 44% will go to HART for the bus system and other mass transit.
  • 1% will go toward planning and development.

However, after a legal battle Hillsborough County Judge Rex Barbas decided to remove the oversight committee, and the percentages, but he gave the County Commission the opportunity to restore the allocations.

Now, your taxes are in a big legal mess with many filing appeals on Judg'e Barbas' ruling.

Thursday, September 5
On Thursday, Hillsborough County Commissioners are expected to move forward with language on the transportation sales tax ordinance. They're also expected to vote on holding a public hearing on the matter, which is tentatively set for September 18.

Tampa City Council members are expected to vote on their "wish list" for road projects, paid for by the transportation sales tax. You can read that by clicking here.

Wednesday, September 4
The Florida House of Representatives is now entering the legal battle. House General Counsel Adam Tenanbaum's brief shows they are in support of the lawsuit that would overturn the tax. The brief states "the county's failure to put a 'clean' levy question to the voters renders the proposed surtax invalid."

Thursday, August 1

On Thursday, All for Transportation filed an appeal in the lawsuit.

“Government belongs to the people, and the Florida Constitution and Florida Statutes give citizens clear rights to act when their government does not,” said AFT chairman Tyler Hudson. “Over 282,000 citizens exercised that right last November, to self-impose a sales tax that will fund better, safer roads and new public transit options.”

All for Transportation has retained prominent attorney Raoul Cantero. He served as a Florida Supreme Court justice from 2002-2008.

The appeals were filed in the bond validation case that is now before the Florida Supreme Court.

The group also filed a cross appeal in the declaratory judgment that is in the Second District Court of Appeal.

The original appeals were filed by Hillsborough County Commissioner Stacy White and resident Robert Emerson.

Friday, July 19

Hillsborough County Commissioner Stacy White appealed Judge Barbas' final judgment to the district court.

You can see the appeal here.

Thursday, July 18

Hillsborough County resident Robert Emerson, who was also on the lawsuit, filed an appeal on the judge's ruling. The appeal means any further action for dispersing the funds is on hold.

You can see the appeal here.

All for Transportation released this statement:

“For more than a year we have been fighting for better and safer roads and expanded transit options in Hillsborough County. The public spoke loudly in November when they overwhelmingly approved our plan. We will continue to fight all the way to the Florida Supreme Court further attempts to obstruct the will of the voters and to delay progress.” - All for Transportation Chair Tyler Hudson.

Wednesday, July 17

On Wednesday, Commissioner Les Miller asked the other commissioners to restore those percentages that voters overwhelming supported at 57%.

After a lengthy debate, commissioners voted in favor to move forward with allowing the county attorney to create an ordinance that would allocate how the funding is dispersed.

The motion by Miller states that the county attorney's office will prepare an ordinance which provides for the uses, allocations and distributions of the one percent surtax proceeds in a manner consistent with the will of the voters as expressed by the approval of the Charter Amendment in November, 2018.

After the ordinance is drafted, Commissioners will make any changes and then will hold two public hearings.

Commissioner Ken Hagan, opposed to the allocations, said voters did not thoroughly know that the percentages were in place.

The one-cent sales tax approved by voters will be for the next 30 years.