Tuesday, March 08, 2022

Osceola County sales tax increase voted down. (Orlando Business Journal)

Osceola County voters rejected a sales tax increase. 

 From Orlando Business Journals: 

Osceola County sales tax increase voted down

By   –  Staff Writer, Orlando Business Journal 

Osceola County voters struck down a penny sales tax referendum that could have added more funding for transit projects in the area.

In total, 67.19% of voters opposed the measure that could have generated $67 million a year for a 30-year period. Osceola County government would have used the tax revenue for roadway expansions and additional transportation services from commuter rail SunRail and public bus service Lynx. 

If the tax had passed, Osceola County would have matched Hillsborough County's 8.5-cent rate for the highest allowable sales tax in the state. 

Notable opposition to the tax included the Osceola County Republican Party, which claimed the tax would hurt families on a fixed income and that the tax increase would not require new road spending. 

Osceola's failed vote comes as Orange County is considering a future sales tax increase of its own. That proposed tax hike, which is expected to raise about $635 million annually, would be used to expand transportation services like Lynx and SunRail.

"If our goal is to empower every resident and citizen, we will need to provide multiple options for transit, including more buses, more routes, more trains and a robust network that supports both pedestrians and bicyclists," Orange County Mayor Jerry Demingssaid during his May 16 State of the County address.

That tax hike is set to go up for a vote in November 2020. Demings currently is setting up meetings with community members to hear out their transportation needs, he said. 

Meanwhile, Volusia County voters rejected a half-cent transportation sales tax hike by a margin of 55.3% to 44.7% in a ballot-by-mail election that ended May 21. The money generated from that tax hike would have gone toward road and water infrastructure upgrades.

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