Friday, December 6, 2013

GreenLight Pinellas a Commenter Responds

Here is a comment from Bruce Nissen December 04, 2013 at 08:53 AM on my Post GreenLight Pinellas - The Hype and The Circumstance .

"Just like virtually all opponents of Greenlight Pinellas, Doc Webb omits important information and therefore misleads. He writes that you "will pay almost 1% more for almost everything you pay." False. The tax is capped at $500, so large purchases over $5,000 will not have the 1% on any amount over that $5,000. Also note that Doc Webb doesn't mention that property taxes will be reduced in exchange for this 1% sales tax. Also note that that tourists pay between 30% and 40% of all sales taxes in the county, meaning that while our property taxes goes down, out-of-town tourists will pick up a substantial portion of the new tax replacing it. I could go on an on. Omitting key facts like the above is not balanced commentary. The case for better mass transit in our county is overwhelming, if one looks at all the facts. And simply focusing in the 1% sales tax is so limited, and so distorting, that one misses the big picture. The economic benefits to all of us from vastly improved (and increased) bus service, plus eventually light rail in about 10 years, are clear."

Let's pick this apart

Tax is capped at $500 so no tax on purchases over $5000
Just how many individual $5000 purchases do you make? Not that many I would suspect. You will pay 1% more on EVERYTHING else  except excluded items: groceries and medical supplies. There is no cap on the total amount of this tax you pay..

Property Taxes will be reduced
Maybe, but this requires an act of the State legislature which has not yet happened. So it is possible if you vote yes for the sales tax you could end up paying both taxes. Granted not likely, but possible.

If you rent or lease it will have no off-setting effect you will just pay a tax you were not paying before.

Tourists will pay 30% to 40% of the tax TOTAL
So what? We make the area even less desirable for tourists by raising the sales tax and all of this has no affect on you, you still pay more taxes. This argument is just a shell game marketing ploy.

Not balanced commentary
I have absolutely no intention of providing balanced commentary. What I am providing is a counter balance to the very expensive marketing campaign that PSTA is using your tax dollars to pay for, so you can be convinced GreenLight Pinellas is a great idea, and you should vote for the sales tax increase.

Where we agree
The case for better mass transit in our county is overwhelming, if one looks at all the facts.

The sales tax referendum would have a much better chance if the Ballot language and supporting Ordinance/Resolution had specific control language that sets County Commission controlled milestones and strictly prohibits any dedication of these funds for any light rail effort including consultants and planning until the bus transportation goals are met.

What we have now is a proposal to take millions of dollars out of the local economy, dedicate it to specific named program and give it over to PSTA who has stars their eyes and trains on their mind.

The County Commission can fix this if they will. If they don't, it is going to be a tough sell regardless of how much tax payer money is spent on slick marketing.

e-mail Doc at:, or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb)Friend request.

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