Dear Manatee County Voters,
On October 4th, most vote by mail ballots for the November 8th election were mailed out (formerly known as "absentee ballots"). If you vote by mail and don't receive your ballot, please contact the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections office for assistance. They're always happy to help.
Whether you vote by mail or in person, please vote "NO" on the two sales tax hikes on your ballot. For good arguments against these tax hikes, see my previous e-mail to you. In addition, sales taxes are regressive which means they hurt the poor the most. Why put more of the burden on the people who can least afford it? It's time to stop subsidizing real estate developers.
Politicians like to call this tax a "penny tax"....as if every purchase you make is for $1. We like dollar stores, but we don't want to force you to shop at dollar stores by making you poor.
Tax hike supporters seem to think that Manatee County can become more like Sarasota County if we just pay higher taxes like they do. But according to the US Census Bureau, the per capita income in Sarasota County is 20% higher than in Manatee County....and our poverty rate is 30% higher than theirs. Higher taxes on lower incomes to pay for developer subsidies? No thanks!
||Hi, my name is Linda Neely, and I've lived in Bradenton since 1973. I've been involved in Manatee County public policy issues for many years. I work six days a week in my family business, and I care deeply about the future of Manatee County. Hence this e-mail.
Government is using tax dollars to advocate for these tax hikes. They call it "informing the public"...but they only give you one side of the policy debate. Now that's called "advocacy"...and they're using your tax dollars to do it! Meanwhile, I spent my own money to get this information to you.
Our group, "No Sales Tax Hikes", opposes both sales tax hikes. Our message to you today is this: don't let them raise the sales tax on YOU.
A few more words about the proposed "infrastructure tax".....
We had an "infrastructure" sales tax for most the 1990's...and it was terminated for very good reasons. Now they give us a list of projects to get us to vote yes. But the list is meaningless because the politicians are not bound by the project list. The politicians can bait-and-switch us...and they will. Just like they have done in the past...(more on that below).
"Forward Manatee" is the private sector "yes" campaign - they claim that "state law requires" that the infrastructure tax "can only be used for projects approved by voters." Their claim is simply false. There is no such law, and the fact that they don't cite a statute should make you suspicious.
Now look at Forward Manatee's donations: 60% of their donations are for $10,000 or more. And all these big donations came from developers and their associates. They support both sales tax hikes because they want to keep impact fees on themselves artifically low, and stick you with the bill.
More on the school tax later - now let's look at your ballot !
IMMEDIATELY TO THE RIGHT is the relevant portion of your ballot with the two sales taxes. Please fill it in as indicated. Please vote "NO" on both sales tax hikes!
Here are some wonderful comments we received from citizens in response to our voter survey in our previous e-mail:
"No more amnesty for the rich developers, charge them the full impact fee!"
"To Manatee Govt: Stop thinking that you can keep on putting your hands deep into our pockets. There is nothing left to take"
"Thanks for your efforts! Keep me posted"
"More taxes is the solution of the incompetent"
"County commissioners and school board members ignored the recommendation of the impact fee study"
"I can be a single issue voter in this case: no new taxes!"
"Thank you for bring this important information to our attention!"
"The politicians need to learn to spend less, period. We are already taxed to death with hidden taxes"
"They spend too much money now. You are doing a good job - thanks"
"Concerned that our elected officials are not accountable. They don't have to balance a budget. They just raise taxes"
"Just want to save money at this point in my life!"
"When politicians show that they are trustworthy through their actions then I will begin to believe what they say"
"It seems the lottery doesn't compensate as much as was originally expected" [a reference to the state lottery proceeds which were supposed to "help pay for education"]
"Not very many politicians represent the people. Seem more interested in what they can give themselves"
"Thank you for all the hard work. Well done!"
"Perhaps there would be more money for the commission if they quit making major exemptions for developers from paying their fair share"
Now for the arguments against the school board tax.....
In "selling" the school board tax to voters in 2002, the school board distributed brochures (see it here) saying that 18 new schools would be built in 15 years. They also said that all of the county's schools would be renovated.
THE PROMISES WERE BROKEN - they didn't renovate all the schools. And they built 10 new schools, not 18. They hope you won't notice, or that you've forgotten their promises.
This 2005 newspaper article talks about the above referenced brochures (excerpt from the article on the left). In the excerpt, please also note that they put "energy" (=YOUR tax dollars) in to "marketing" the plan to you in 2002.
School superintendent Diana Greene said it best when she wrote in July that "the Manatee County School District totally botched the taxpayer-funded budget by millions". Yet now Greene wants you to trust them again. Why would we?
School superintendent Greene claims that the impact of the tax is "zero on everyone’s wallet"...but that's simply not true! If we defeat the tax, then you'll keep more of your own money.
We've had the school sales tax since January of 2003 and the tax was always to expire in 2017. The school board should have planned accordingly because renewing a tax that is set to expire is by definition a tax hike. They should have known that neither middle America nor the poor are in any mood for tax hikes, especially when there now is a history of waste!
We have no reason to give money to a school board with such a poor history. Politicians always tell you it's "for the children", it's a line they use all the time. The politicians always want more money, yet "more" is somehow never enough. We say that enough is enough!
We need sound fiscal management - not tax hikes.
Again: my own time and money was spent to get this information to you. Unlike the special interests who stand to profit from these sales tax hikes, I don't profit from sending this e-mail to you. There is very little that I'm asking of you in return. All I am asking of you right now is that you:
- Share this e-mail with others. CLICK HERE for a link so you can share this e-mail on Facebook. The facts need to come out to counter the massive propaganda being distributed by government using YOUR tax dollars.
- Like our Facebook page so you can receive updates.
Please vote "NO" on both sales tax hikes !
Thank you for your time and attention to this important matter!
Spokesperson, No Sales Tax Hikes (Manatee)