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1% Sales Tax Increase for Busses and Trains Good Idea or Not?

The light rail people, like flock of vultures, are trying to ride into the sales tax revenue stream on the fears the bus system will collapse without the tax.

A few weeks ago I posted Light Rail Revisited. If you didn't see it click on the link and be sure to read the COMMENTS.

The PSTA has sent the County Commission a recommendation to include a ballot initiative to add 1 percent to Pinellas County sales tax for transportation.

On the surface,  the PSTA makes the argument that the bus system will have a budget shortfall of $8 Million in 2016 and needs the additional revenue, but the ballet initiative would also allow the sales tax revenue to be used for Light Rail. The commenters in the Light Rail Revisited Post bring up a lot of excellent points. Check them out.

My guess is the light rail people will quickly grab the lion's share of the money.

In the last day or so we have seen how HART (Hillsborough Area Rapid Transit) and PSTA (Pinellas Sun Coast Transit Authority) are tap dancing around a state order that they merge to reduce duplication and save some money.

Protecting the fiefdoms seems to be the issue and it is also the problem.

Take TBRTA(Tampa Bay Regional Transit Authority) for example. Over the last 5 years or so I have been to probably 10 presentations from TBARTA, each one presented by some high paid consulting firm, and TBARTA has yet to really produce anything practical.

Public Transportation in the Bay area could be the poster child for government boondoggle.

Before we, the taxpayers, agree to provide an unending flow of sales tax  revenue to be used by people who have, to this point, produced less than stellar results and fund those who would cut a swath through the middle of the State's most densely populated county so some politicians can stand in front of an empty train and proudly claim success, we better think a bit. 

Raising the sales tax to 8% can't be that good for tourism, remember the goose and the golden eggs. 

Almost all agree a sales tax is a regressive tax, but the public transportation people would encourage your yes vote to a sales tax to support them while adding a heavier tax burden to those they say they wish to serve.

The light rail people, like flock of vultures, are trying to ride into the sales tax revenue stream on the fears the bus system will collapse without the tax.

All of this could  be a ballot issue in 2014. The Pinellas County Commission should either receive and file the sales tax request or better yet send it back to the PSTA and ask them for a proposal that deals with the bus system only.  And if PSTA is really in the light rail camp a separate proposal for light rail.

Hillsborough  County voted down  a sales tax proposal for light rail, Pinellas voters would be wise to follow suit should the issue in its present from make it to the ballot. 

e-mail Doc at: dr.webb@verizon.net, or send me a Facebook Friend  request.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Bulldog February 03, 2013 at 01:16 PM
Grew up in the North East where trains are used to commute to NYC by thousands everyday, still RR loses money, they needed to be bailed out with taxpayer money and are still subsidised with tax payer dollars. There is no chance this would ever be anything but another way to remove money from taxpayer pockets. They would charge additional the sales tax, then ask for more for cost overruns, and more to cover annual losses. They'll charge to park at the point of origin, charge for public transport from the destination terminal to your destination and then claim they need more money to expand the failing system. No way I'd support more government folly, let private companies build and float this boat. If there was any real chance for profit it would be done privately.
Clay Bradley February 04, 2013 at 05:13 AM
Sorry, I don't listen to old men who can't spell.
sparky February 04, 2013 at 02:06 PM
Ignorant applies to Clay Bradley with a reply not on point.
Stagebuster March 23, 2013 at 01:42 PM
No more sales /penny tax increase. It never goes down.
sparky March 26, 2013 at 03:41 AM
How many people make vacation decisions based upon sales tax? None. Room taxes almost everywhere I go are over 10% and easily 14%. Yep we need light rail now for the future.

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