Massive $115 million 2014-2015 Pinellas Tax Hikes Negates Phony $32 million Greenlight “Swap” (before $148 million for New Sales Tax!) .

Taxes to Pinellas governments would INCREASE by over $263 million next year if Greenlight Tax were approved by voters and went into effect at that time.

Taxes to Pinellas governments would INCREASE by over $263 million next year if Greenlight Tax were approved by voters and went into effect at that time.

Greenlight Pinellas proponents have been seeking to fool Pinellas residents by selling a phony “Tax swap” to voters. The Greenlight Plan would set property tax collected by PSTA to “zero”, until such time as they wanted the money back.  While the PSTA would not collect $32 million in property taxes, it would collect $148 million in annual sales tax, including from over 500,000 new taxpayers who currently don’t pay a dime to the PSTA. So the Greenlight tax “swap” is clearly phony. But there is another factor to consider: all the taxes going up in the County as a whole and in nearly every of the 24 cities in Pinellas County this year.  The $32 million PSTA property tax elimination would be overwhelmed not only by the $148 million sales tax hike, but by a minimum of an additional $115 million in taxes found so far for Pinellas and the three largest cities in the county! The total tax impact if the first full year of Greenlight sales tax collections started next year would be $263 million.

Citizens with newspapers have likely seen nearly full page ads from multiple cities, the county and the local school board advertising hikes in property taxes. Property values are going up again and the local governments are riding the wave to take more money from property owners and place it into the government coffers.  This behavior is similar to that of the 2001-2007 period when local governments rode the artificial property value bubble and ultimately faced a property tax revolt complete with mediocre amendments to the state constitution to stop it. Many may remember Charlie Crist saying property taxes would “drop like a rock” – didn’t really happen.  In addition, cities and the county are raising utility rates and other fees. The Sunbeam Times has calculated the total revenue hikes for the County, School Board and the three largest cities in Pinellas (St. Petersburg, Clearwater and Largo). Counting only these, out of 24 municipalities in the County, the additional tax and fee hit to Pinellas residents is $115 million.

The fee and property tax hikes of analyzed governments are shown below. This does not count additional monies from other governments and those fees and other revenue hikes that are often hidden in government budgets. It also does not include any increased interest costs paid by taxpayers on bonds issued by cities.

Governments Analyzed Fee and other taxes Total Hike Property Tax Hike Total Tax hike
TOTAL 59,230,980.00 55,779,799.00 115,010,779.00
Pinellas County 47,099,790.00 26,253,686.00 73,353,476.00
St.Petersburg 5,300,000.00 6,260,000.00 11,560,000.00
Largo 129,500.00 823,500.00 953,000.00
Clearwater 6,701,690.00 2,422,750.00 9,124,440.00
School Board N/A 20,019,863.00 20,019,863.00

3 Replies:

  1. Dave "Scooterman" Kovar

    Oh, so confusing. You are mixing together my tax SAVINGS from PSTA with taxes going up for schools? The tax rate in St Petersburg (I live in north county). Did you mention that Florida state taxes may change on real estate stamps or that the federal income tax may be different. What you write sounds like it makes sense, yet it is full of so much information that is unrelated other than the well known fact that you and your readers don’t like to pay taxes.

    So that’s all. You don’t like to pay taxes. If the fed’s were lowering taxes you’d yell about the state. If the State were lowering taxes you’d yell about the county. The fact that PSTA is lowering your taxes makes you mad at everybody else.

    Your $319 PSTA tax Dr McKalip would require you to spend $31,900 in TAXABLE purchases every year. Barb Haselden’s, $308.50 would require her spending $30,800 in taxable purchases, EVERY YEAR. Luckily my paltry $25 PSTA tax (Limited income) is offset by my mostly spending on groceries, medicines, and my mortgage and donations (not affected by sales tax). I’ll probably spend a max of $5000 in taxable purchases ($100/wk), so it may add a lot, as much as $250 in sales tax a year! That works out to … 50 cents PSTA tax per week. Of course, by having an easier connection, one extra bus trip PER MONTH, will help me save that amount. You just don’t seem to understand what its like to live on a limited income.

    Oh, and remember, there will be one year with no tax at all. The property tax is repealed first, then the sales tax starts the next year. So we all have a year to set aside our property tax in a piggy bank. But really, $300 PER YEAR?

    So you want people to pay more property taxes? Go ahead. Tax homeowners and let tourists off scott free. Make renters pay rent on non-homestead exempt property taxes. Your logic seems upside down, but your anger is certainly sincere, and consistant across the years. And those with limited income should pay those higher rents and taxes without access to jobs, doctors, or school, or at least with the highest possible cost (cars and gas).

    1. Sun Beam Times Post author

      Oh Davie, you are so very CUTE!

      Do NOT act like taxation by Greenlight is in ISOLATION! They are part of a larger structure of governments constantly taxing us ordinary citizens to a pulp!

      Before people approve a 300% revenue hike for PSTA and a14% Sales tax rate hike, they should be FULLY INFORMED of the Taxation landscape they are facing in the rest of the county?

      Tell me Dave, when your phone bill goes up, do you cut back all your costs to pay it or do you happily spend more money on electricity too? After all it is THEIR FAIR SHARE?

      As far as ME saving more money if my psta property taxes go away: 1. I don’t believe it! 2. I am MORE CONCERNED about the COMMON GOOD here. When the Common good is harmed by the aggressive and inappropriate taxation by local governments, the economy fails, people get hurt and life is worse for all!

      Grow some compassion please for the 500,000 more poor people you seek to tax for “their own good”.


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