If you’re a regular reader here, you know that I strongly oppose the sales tax hike being promoted by Orange County leaders that will likely go before the voters next year (story HERE). The revenues from the tax increase would go towards transportation improvements in the region.
Besides the fact data being provided to voters is from VISIT Orlando (story HERE), a tourism agency that is also receiving money from the county, we also have no way to ensure that tax revenues from Orange County residents won’t go towards bus and rail projects that will improve conditions in Seminole and Osceola Counties as well.
Ahead of the third county town hall taking place on the matter this evening, a new challenge that is being discovered by proponents of the tax hike is that the revenues collected might not even please everyone. You can ask an Orange County resident how to improve transportation and they’ll certainly have a opinion and it will likely be a different opinion than another resident depending on their needs.
Car drivers will tell you that they want Ultimate I-4 completed as quickly as possible, but you and I know that isn’t on the table here. They’ll ask for more road widening projects to make their commute easier.
They also won’t want to pay taxes for a LYNX or SunRail system they’ll never use.
Bus riders will tell you that they want less time waiting at stops. Now, revenues from the tax will go towards purchases of new buses.
But those same bus riders will tell you they don’t want to pay for routes that they’ll never use. And LYNX has a leadership problem (stories HERE and HERE) and just experienced an accident that sadly sent a group of people to the hospital earlier this week (story HERE). The county would be wise to shore up the situation at LYNX before pouring more money into the operation.
SunRail riders will tell you they want to they want more services to get them to their departing point at the beginning of their journey, and to their arriving point after they get off of the train.
Once again they’re not going to want to pay for projects they’ll never use like roads on the other side of the county.
And we haven’t touched on those who are still asking why we’re trying to raise taxes when we gave Universal $125 million for their road improvements (story HERE).
The point here, and the question I have is…
Why are we raising taxes on everyone when everyone won’t be using the services we’re raising taxes for?
We would still be better off exploring the use of Tourism Development Tax dollars that we are certain come from out of town visitors, than raising costs on our own residents.