Friday, June 24, 2022

Danger Zone Again! Hillsborough County Hands HNTB $700K For Taxpayer Funded PR Campaign Supporting Contentious Political Issue - $18 Billion Rail Tax Referendum


Tampa, Fl
From: Eye On Tampa Bay

Posted by: Sharon Calvert

Hillsborough County - you have a problem!

At the June 15th BOCC meeting Hillsborough County staff recommended handing $700K to engineering firm HNTB for a taxpayer funded PR campaign in support of the $18 Billion rail tax on the November ballot. 

The County knows they are treading on very thin ice launching a publicly financed campaign for a political issue - the monster rail tax referendum. 

To cover for this wasteful and abusive use of taxpayer dollars, County staff was forced to repeatedly state at the June 15th meeting the County will comply with State law. County staff was even compelled to state they will have to continuously check with the County Attorney to ensure they are complying with State law. 

This is the same County Attorney who did not warn county commissioners the 2018 All for Transportation (AFT) rail tax had legal issues. The County still owes taxpayers a refund of $562 MILLION of illegal AFT tax dollars unlawfully collected.

The same Tampa Centric 5 Democrat commissioners who put the $18 Billion rail tax on the ballot - Kimberly Overman, Mariella Smith, Pat Kemp, Gwen Myers and Harry Cohen - voted yes for this unethical use of tax dollars for a political issue. 

Commissioner White voted no and Commissioner Hagan, who had just spoken on the previous agenda item, was suddenly nowhere to be found and did not vote. 

HNTB has given $1000 to the 2022 campaigns of Commissioners Hagan, Myers, Cohen and candidate Michael Owen. HNTB gave $15K to the pro rail tax PAC Moving Hillsborough Forward in 2010.  

The $18 Billion rail tax is a boondoggle that cannot be sold on its merits because it forces taxpayers in unincorporated Hillsborough to pay for costly rail and transit in the city of Tampa. The majority of the money will be spent in the city of Tampa and unincorporated Hillsborough will not get the new auto-lane capacity they desperately need. 

The transportation "Open Houses" the County held earlier this year that taxpayers already paid for were a flop. They flopped because the County got caught misleading the public. 


This post is contributed by EYE ON TAMPA BAY. The views expressed in this post are the blog publisher's and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher of BayPost Internet.


Cross Posted with permission from: Eye On Tampa Bay

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