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Commission will consider voter referendum on tax issues | News

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Commission will consider voter referendum on tax issues
Commission will consider voter referendum on tax issues

Bradenton, Florida -- Manatee County Commission on Tuesday, April 9 at 9:30 a.m. is scheduled to discuss a referendum on community tax issues.

The Board is expected to make a final decision on whether to hold a public referendum on June 18, 2013 – as currently scheduled – or to move it to August 6, 2013.

Those in favor of the earlier date say it will allow the County to plan a two-year budget that includes property tax relief if the referendum passes. Those who prefer a later date say it will allow voters more time to become familiar with the issue. Some Board members have also suggested holding a 2014 referendum to defray special election costs. Those who prefer a 2013 election say it’s necessary to address a major budget issue for 2015, and to allow property tax relief in 2014.

The meeting will be streamed live at www.mymanatee.org/mga  Manatee Government Access (MGA) can be seen locally on Bright House channel 622, Verizon channel 30 and Comcast channel 20.

At stake is a referendum that asks the community to consider a half-cent sales tax that will generate $23 million to pay for local health care costs. Manatee County now pays for community health care using both property taxes and a health care fund that’s set to run out in 2015. The new half-cent sales tax will generate enough to cover the expiring fund and much of the property tax-funded portion. In turn, property taxes could be reduced by about $10 million.

Also on the referendum will be a tax abatement issue that will give Commissioners the ability to offer property tax relief to qualified companies that invest or create new jobs here.  

If approved by a majority of Manatee voters, the half-cent sales tax would be charged to the first $5,000 of a taxable sale or purchase.

Details on how the county plans to reduce countywide property taxes is available at www.mymanatee.org/howwillwepay

Eligible uses are very specific for the proposed half-cent sales tax. Florida Statute requires that the funds from this kind of sales tax can only be spent on healthcare costs for qualified residents of the county.

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