As people engage in Christmas Shopping this season, they should look fondly at the 7% Pinellas sales tax on their bills. It may be the one of the last Christmastimes where they see it. In November 2014, voters will be asked to approve a 14.28% tax hike to raise sales taxes from 7 cents to 8 cents of every dollar spent. That tax will remove $130 million annually from the pockets of citizens and the private economy and place it into the hands of a bloated government bureaucracy: PSTA. PSTA, after failing to provide good transportation on a healthy budget for years, will then more than quadruple its bloated budget. PSTA claims it will re-engineer and expand the bus system and then build a train from St. Petersburg to Clearwater. All while hoping that the Federal Government will produce over a $1 billion for rail as our Federal deficit grows.
Pinellas County already has added an extra “penny” to the sales tax through the “Penny for Pinellas” sales tax that is subject to voter approval every ten years. Raising the tax another “penny” is not a 1% sales tax hike, as proponents claim, but a 14% sales tax hike. Here’s the math:
|Formula: (new rate-old rate/old rate)*100=Percent Change
8-7 = 1
.1428 x 100 = 14.28% sales tax hike
The Rate in Hillsborough county is currently 7% as is Pasco County. The Rate in Manatee County is 6.5%. Certainly, businesses and “economic development” agencies in those counties will be running ads here in Pinellas to “save money and shop across the county line”. The local tourist agencies will be advertising out of state to “Come to Manatee County, same Beaches, better prices”. The increased sales tax will cause pressures for upward pay for local labor, further increasing costs – to compensate for “high cost of living”. Business will have higher costs to pay to local vendors and pass those costs on to consumers. Money will be drained from the private economy that could be better spent for private prosperity – and given to a bloated bureaucracy.
Imagine buying any of the following new items in Pinellas vs. Manatee County. It is interesting to note that it is the “Progressive” politicians pushing hardest for this regressive sales tax hike. How hard does a poor person have to work to earn the extra $9 after scrimping and saving for years for a new television? How will Boat and Car dealers in Pinellas fare as their customers are siphoned off to Manatee, Pasco and Hillsborough. How many jobs will be lost then?
|Item||Pinellas – 8% Sales Tax (2015)||Manatee 6.5% Sales Tax||Savings by shopping
Outside Pinellas County
|$600 Flat Screen Television||$48||$39||$9|
|$2,000 Christmas Shopping Bill||$160||$130||$30|
|$4,000 Vacation Package
|A previous version of this table has been correct to reflect that the 8% sales tax would only apply to the first $5,000 or the 8% – making it more Regressive. The tax cap also has many loopholes that allow government to collect the full 8% on commercial real estate, utility bills and more. See updated post here: http://www.sunbeamtimes.com/2013/12/04/14-sales-tax-hike-for-rail-more-regressive-than-other-sales-taxes-and-broader-than-claimed-will-harm-economy/|
Local voters will continue be inundated by tax-payer funded propaganda campaign called the “Greenlight Pinellas” to promote the tax hike. All sorts of promises will be made regarding jobs, economic development, environmental impact and more. Pinellas voters are better served by remembering that Tampa voters rejected a similar tax hike for rail barely two years ago. Voters will find more facts from average citizens standing up against more taxes at the website of the organization “No Tax for Tracks“.