Friday, November 22, 2013

GreenLight Pinellas - PSTA's Take on the Sales Tax

 Here is an e-mail I received from Bob Lasher External Affairs Director  for the Sun Coast Transit Authority regarding my Post
GreenLight Pinellas - First Look .

Dear Dr. Webb, 

Thank you for your diligence on Greenlight Pinellas. Unfortunately your assumption regarding the 1% tax is not exactly true. The surtax will be levied just as the Penny for Pinellas. Therefore, it will be capped to the fist $5,000 of any purchase for a maximum of $50. It also will NOT be applied to groceries and medical items including things such as aspirin, cold medicine, first aid cream, etc. It is, by no means, an across-the-board application. 

Thanks.  
Bob Lasher
External Affairs Officer
Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority
(727) 540-1874, Cell: (727) 580-7135

Mr. Lasher is no doubt correct, but leaves out the fact that if you make multiple purchases that exceed
$5,000, which not a lot of us do, you will pay the $50.00 on each $5,000 purchase.

And while he is accurate that the 1% tax is not applied to things such as aspirin, cold medicine, first aid cream and groceries, all the stuff in your fridge and the medicine cabinet, all the rest of the stuff you buy for your home, garage,  boat, camper, kids and your significant other is subject to the tax.

It is applied to everything else you buy like cars, boats, campers, televisions, tools, lumber, clothes, yard supplies, books, jewelry, computers, cell phones, tablets, paper, printers the list goes on and on.

The simple way to look at it is: if you pay sales tax on it now, you will pay more sales tax on it if the Referendum passes.

It's a TAX INCREASE.

The core of my problem with GreenLight Pinellas comes from the MARKETING perspective. They tell you just enough to make THEIR point without telling you the whole truth.

The truth is no matter who you are you will be paying more in taxes to support public transportation if this referendum passes than you are now.

If, what the Transit Authority, TBARTA and growing list of committees, City Councils and groups are planning and promoting is worth the price, then there should be no problem selling the referendum upfront and honestly.

The questions become: 1) is what is being proposed worth taking the amount of money represented by this tax out of the discretionary money spent in Pinellas County every year going forward and turning it over to the Transit Authority?  2) And how do we assure that all of this money will spent for what the GreenLight people say it will?

The Pinellas County Commission should craft a series of Ordinances in such a fashion to restrict the immediate use of these funds for the expansion of bus service as defined in the GreenLight Pinellas plan.

The rail component should be tied to a set of specific numeric goals and objectives for bus transit that must be met before one dime of this tax can go toward any light rail project including engineering and planning.

e-mail Doc at: dr.webbsmail@gmail.com, or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb) Friend request.

1 comment:

  1. Classic bait-n-switch tactic. This is not a singular 1% stand alone tax. It amounts to about a 14% increase to the existing tax, and an increase from about $33-million in taxes to about $130-million in taxes for a train that only 1 to 2.5% of the population may or may not ride. By the way, there has been no commitment to stop the current $33-million in taxes. Which means we may actually end up paying both for a grand total of about $170-million in taxes (annually) going toward a train that only 1 to 2.5% of the population may or may not ride.

    Any chance I could get that pothole on my street fixed?

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