One Cent Sales Tax Increase: What do you Think?

Last March the city asked voters to vote “Yes for WPB Jobs” with the signs going up throughout the city, and 68% of voters agreed, not realizing they were voting to grant property tax exemption to new businesses and the expansions of existing ones. This is exactly what government depended on, voters not being familiar with the issues.
Sneaky and underhanded but effective.

The State of Florida along with WPB,  PBC Officials, and the Public School System are hoping to strike it rich if voters allow a one cent increase in the sales tax.
Here is my opinion on why you should vote No, and I offer examples.

Lets take schools and the information below was taken from the Florida Lottery website.

“Nov 4 1986 By a two-to-one margin, Florida voters approve a constitutional amendment authorizing the state to operate a lottery for the purpose of generating additional “funds for education.”

Did the State set up designated funds for schools with the lottery windfall? No, they did not. The billions, over thirty years were placed in the “General” fund, for politicians to spend as they see fit, including taking dollars from public schools and transferring it to political friends/allies who opened for profit Charter Schools, with hundreds failing in Florida. Another slap in the face after the school failures the money was not returned, not sought, and the failed school owner is allowed, in some cases, to keep the land and building.

It’s not what you know, but who.

According to Fortune Magazine who wrote on 1/13/2016 the article states where the money went from the recent $1.5 BILLION Powerball lottery.

50% Jackpot winners=========           $750 Million
5% Administration===========          $37.5 Million
5% State General Fund========           $37.5 Million
11% Other=================           $82.5 Million
29% Education==============          $217.5 Million

21% of the $1.5 billion did not go to education, and you have to love the explanation where 11% went to “other” What is other? I believe $82.5 million deserves a better explanation than “other”.
The figures above represent $157.5 million not used for schools, and that is the report from one lottery.

“Other” is not raising teachers salaries, not building new schools, not repairing older schools, not insuring every student have books/supplies.

If you find the time to examine your tax bill for 2016, look where your taxes were spent. I offer mine as an example.
School Local================$201.08
School State================$403.61
Over $600.00 paid in 2016 for schools.

If the BILLIONS raised in the State Lottery over the last 30 years went to education, Florida would be graduating valedictorians instead of reading about “failing” schools.

A story in the PB Post written 4/29/2015. Here are a few highlights from the story. PBC, Florida School Board approved a contract for incoming school superintendent Robert Avossa, which included a base salary of $325,000.00, the highest paid in the state of Florida. Along with his salary he received $40,000.00 consulting fee for 21/2 weeks of orientation, $1,000.00 monthly stipend, a car, extra $24,000.00 annually for his retirement fund, a one million dollar life insurance policy, smart phone, computer, along with other perks brings his total compensation to $361,000.00 annually.

July 17, 2016. Story in the PB Post “Official demoted in bus crisis out-earns boss in new post” tells the story of Steven Bonino who works in a job created for him as part of his removal from his previous post as former chief of support operations and is earning $111,000.00/year.

What do you imagine the teacher who is responsible for your child 6=7 hours a day= 5 days a week earns?

At a recent WPB City Commission meeting City Administrator Jeff Green stated “Groceries” are not taxed. Mr. Green is correct.
Buy a loaf of bread and cold cuts, not taxed.
Buy a sandwich, ready to eat, Taxed.
Next time you are shopping take the time to read the sign that state what item’s can be found in a particular isle. The vast majority of the items are taxed. Next time you shop pay attention to your sales slip to see what is taxed.

Purchase a new car for $25,000.00.
Sales tax at 6% will cost you $1,500.00
Sales tax at 7% will cost you $1,750.00

Gas for your new car @ $2.25/gal. and you use 20 gal.
Sales tax @ 6% =$2.70
Sales tax @ 7% =$3.15
How many times a year do you fill your gas tank?

Family of four eat dinner at a restaurant. Bill comes to $80.00
Sales tax@ 6% = $4.80
Sales tax@ 7% = $5.60
How many times a year do you eat out?

Now lets look at the extra penny sales tax and businesses.

One story written on April 17,2016 “ex-cons defunct theater was on the list for sales tax funds” tells the story of the shuttered Prince Theater in Pahokee, which was purchased for $8,500.00 and was scheduled to receive $1.4 million dollars for a new makeover.

Despite no public vetting of the projects by government officials, county commissioners and school board members have embraced the proposal, agreed to commit $121 million to finance 23 private construction projects. Prince Theater was one such project, despite the councils assertion that each project had been “rigorously vetted.”
How many other projects slipped by and will receive tax payer dollars?

Once again I repeat it’s not what you know–but who.