Sun Beam Times Alert!
The David vs. Goliath battle for rail continues tonight as the small but mighty “No Tax for Tracks” leader Barbara Haselden squares off in a debate with Don Ewing, Co-chair of “Yes for Greenlight” (with Chamber President Chris Steinocher). The Forum will take place at 6 p.m. on the Seminole Campus of St. Petersburg College in the “Digitorium” (UP 160) at 9200, 113th St. N, Seminole, FL. The debate will evaluate the merits of raising the sales tax rate 14% and tax collections by 300% to build a 25 mph train from St. Pete to Clearwater. Online registration is available but a plentiful 365 seats are available.
“Yes for Greenlight” is expected to raise over $1million from large businesses, real estate developers, and well-connected political insiders. The failed attempt to pass a rail tax hike in Hillsborough raised $1.7 million from large donors who stood to profit. The current “Yes for Greenlight” campaign is using the Citizens United ruling to conceal its donors – odd for an effort supported by the same “progressive” groups and individuals that have complained about Citizen’s United for so long (Sierra Club, Occupy Wall Street, Unions, and local elected Democrat officials). The Yes for Greenlight money will be added to the taxpayer funded “educational” campaign with $800,000 in PSTA funds.
Barbara Haselden represents the group No Tax for Tracks, a small group of volunteers that will likely raise no more than $50,000. Yet the Hillsborough equivalent defeated the rail there 58% to 42% while spending only about $20,000. The group has a grassroots campaign and has been seen marching in parades, waving signs on street corners and showing up at public meetings.