Note: this post has been corrected to reflect that 70% of those opposed to Greenlight Pinellas believe the bus system can be improved within the current budget
No tax for Tracks, the group working to stop the proposed 14% Greenlight Pinellas sales tax hike, has released the full data from the poll it conducted recently. An insightful finding revealed that 70% of those opposed to Greenlight believes that PSTA can provide better bus service within its current budget. This point was driven home over the weekend when the Tampa Bay Times published an account of legal mismanagement of property transactions by PSTA staff, the Board and their attorney. This poll clearly shows that people recognize how poorly the PSTA is running the bus system. Simply doing a better job at that and with their budget will clearly allow them to expand bus service beyond its current level without burdening the taxpayers with the higest sales tax in the state to build a $3 billion light rail system only about 9,000 people will ride! The NO Tax For Tracks Full Poll Release also showed that about 64% were less likely to vote for Greenlight Pinellas when they learned it was the highest tax in the state and many switched from initial support to opposition on learning more facts about Greenlight Pinellas such as the highest tax rate in state, the $100 million tax hike and lack of a train to Tampa. The original poll from St. Pete polls is here.
September 9, 2014, Contact Barbara Haselden 727-709-7039
70% of Greenlight Opponents Believe PSTA can provide Better Bus Service within Current Budget; Oppose Highest Sales Tax in State and Slow Train with No Train to Tampa. (link to press release)
St. Petersburg, FL – Active Pinellas Voters were recently shown to be opposing Greenlight Pinellas by a 12 point margin. According to No Tax for Tracks, the 8/28 poll showed only 36% of those polled supported creating the highest sales tax in the state to build a street-car style train from St. Pete to Clearwater with no Train to Tampa. 48% were opposed with 15.6% undecided, but voters became even more dramatically opposed when fully informed about the nature of the tax hike and proposed train.
No Tax for Tracks is now releasing the remainder of the poll revealing more about voter opposition. A key finding emerged regarding PSTA, the Transit Agency that would quadruple its budget if voters increase the sales tax rate by 14% from 7 to 8 cents on the dollar. The poll revealed that 70% of voters opposed to Greenlight felt that the local transit agency (PSTA) could provide better bus service within their current budget. No Tax for Tracks leader Barbara Haselden observed: “PSTA has a $3 million surplus, wasted $800,000 of taxpayer funds on a Greenlight Campaign and still wants more. Voters know that if they managed their budget better, they could spare us all the highest sales tax in the state and create the better bus service Pinellas County residents deserve”.
The poll also revealed why voters are so opposed to Greenlight Pinellas and shows that when voters are informed on these facts, opposition becomes overwhelming. 64% of voters are less likely to vote for they greenlight plan when they learn that it is the highest sales tax in the state. 57% of active voters were less likely to support the Greenlight Pinellas plan when they learned it would create an additional $100 million of taxes on Pinellas County taxpayers every year. 67% of active voters were less likely to support the Greenlight Pinellas plan when they learned the 57 minute train trip was only between St. Petersburg and Clearwater and did not go to Tampa.
When voters are educated about the need to create the highest sales tax in the state for Greenlight Pinellas and other facts, opposition grows overwhelmingly with a majority rejecting the tax hike (57%) creating a 32 point spread between yes and no (57.2%Y;25.2%N; 17.6%Undecided). Opposition was consistent among Republicans, independent (and democrat voters when fully informed), men and women. Despite claims that younger and older populations are more likely to support a major tax hike for more transit, these groups were the most opposed when fully informed. Barbara Haselden, spokesperson for No Tax for Tracks said this: “Voters are rejecting the Greenlight Pinellas plan already, and become overwhelmingly opposed when they learn that Greenlight Pinellas creates the highest sales tax in the entire state, right here in Pinellas County”.
The poll was straightforward, transparent survey of 1,406 active voters regarding the Greenlight Pinellas plan conducted on 8/28 with a margin of error of only 2.4%. Voters were asked if they supported the plan using language very similar to that of the actual ballot language. More details regarding the poll are included below.
- Voters are rejecting the Greenlight Pinellas plan to create the highest sales tax in the state to build a train from St. Petersburg to Clearwater with no train to Tampa.
- The first question asked about Greenlight Pinellas did not influence voters in any way and active voters still rejected the plan by a 12% margin.
- Of those preferring a Yes or No vote, 57.5% of active voters would reject the Greenlight Pinellas plan without any more information on the plan. 15.8% of active voters were still undecided before learning more about the Greenlight Pinellas’ highest sales tax in the state. (48.3% N; 35.9% Y; 15.8% Undecided). (page 4 of report).
- When educated about the Greenlight Pinellas plan’s highest sales tax in the state, slow St. Pete to Clearwater train (with no train to Tampa) and a $100 million tax hike, voters became far more opposed to the Greenlight Pinellas Plan.
- When educated about the Greenlight Pinellas plan, voters became more solidly opposed. Of those preferring a Yes or No Vote, 69.4% opposed, 30.6% supported. After learning more about the greenlight plan, more became undecided with even more of the supporters flipping to opposition (57.2%Y;25.2%N; 17.6%Undecided). (page 18 of report)
- Of those active voters originally supporting the Greenlight Pinellas Plan in the survey, 20% became opponents when educated about creating the highest sales tax in the state and other details about the Greenlight Pinellas plan.
- 64% of active voters were less likely to support the Greenlight Pinellas plan when they learned it would create the highest sales tax in the state.
- 57% of active voters were less likely to support the Greenlight Pinellas plan when they learned it would create an additional $100 million of taxes on Pinellas County taxpayers every year.
- 67% of active voters were less likely to support the Greenlight Pinellas plan when they learned the 57 minute train trip was only between St. Petersburg and Clearwater and did not go to Tampa.
- 71% of active voters opposed to Greenlight thought that local government could provide better bus service with the budget they already have.
- Opposition was strongest among Republicans at 62.5% initially and 70.5% when learning more. This clearly explains why the local Pinellas County Republican Party has come out against the tax along with several local Republican clubs.
- Independent voters were more likely to flip from support to opposition when learning more about the plan (45%, a plurality, initially opposed, 55% upon learning more).
- Democrat voters flipped from support (50.5%Y, 32.5N) to oppose (39.0%Y, 41.9% N) when educated about the highest sales tax in the state created by Greenlight Pinellas. This may explain why the Pinellas Democrat Party has not asked its member to endorse the Greenlight Pinellas plan.
- Younger (18-29) and older (70 and above) voters were more likely to oppose (44%, 50% respectively) with opposition strengthening among younger and older voters upon learning more (53.3%, 60.5% respectively).
- Men and women both opposed the Greenlight Pinellas plan initially (51.2%, 46% respectively) and when educated about the Greenlight Pinellas plan to create the highest sales tax in the state (59.8% N, 55.1% N) (more women opposed than supported the plan throughout the poll).
- The scientific poll conducted by St. Pete Polls of 1,406 voters was performed two days after the primary on August 28, is available to the public, sampled all parties, and reflected those who are planning to vote in the November 4, 2014 election.
- Unlike polls conducted by “Yes for Greenlight”, the questions used for the No Tax for Tracks polls are transparent and available for analysis by the public.