(FALSE) Greenlight Pinellas Propaganda: the Greenlight Pinellas plan is “not paid for with an additional tax – it’s paid for through a TAX SWAP”.
Recently, the well-funded Greenlight Pinellas campaign sent out its fourth mailer to County voters (see below). In it they claimed that the over $110 million annual Greenlight tax hike was a “fair tax” and made many misleading statements. They incorrectly state there is a “swap” of property tax for sales tax without mentioning that most people in Pinellas pay no property tax at all. They also do not point out that the so called “swap” would more than quadruple the amount of taxes collected by PSTA. Only the most corrupt of political campaigns can make a claim that an additional $110 million in tax revenue is “not paid for with an additional tax” and is a “tax swap”. The facts speak for themselves.
1. Greenlight is a 300%, $110 million annual tax revenue hike – not a tax “swap”. PSTA collects about $32 million annually from property taxes. If voters approve the 14% sales tax hike from seven to eight cents, it will generate $148 million in the first full year of collections (2017).
2. Most people in Pinellas do not pay any property tax –This is not a “swap” for them. According to the Pinellas County Property Appraiser, about 234,000 claim the $25,000 homestead exemption, which likely reflects the approximate number of property taxpayers in Pinellas (page 5 of report here). There are about 929,000 residents of Pinellas County according to the US Census bureau (2013). That moves the $32 million property tax burden from 234,000 people to 694,000 new people (three times as many) currently paying no taxes whatsoever to PSTA currently. Certainly, there are different ways to “slice” these numbers, based on numbers in household and age of payer, but it is clear that the general population will be paying an extra $110 million every year to PSTA in taxes more than currently. It is usually one or at most two people per household paying property taxes and there are many “visitors” paying property tax too. That doesn’t seem to concern Greenlight Proponents when they claim visitors will pay sales taxes too. They also don’t seem to care that at least 2/3 of the sales taxes will be borne by Pinellas residents who will have to live in a county with the highest sales tax in the state if Greenlight passes.
As Greenlight propaganda continues to roll out from the well-healed land developers and politically connected, remember they have everything to gain while you have everything to use. This is yet another example of how citizens can’t trust most of what Greenlight supporters say.