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OUR Half-Cent Sales Tax for Education
In November 2012, Leon County voters will have the opportunity to decide whether the current half-cent sales tax that benefits our local schools will be extended another 15 years. County consumers have paid this tax since 2002, and school officials say it has generated about $18 million per year to fund capital projects, including construction, maintenance, renovation, and the purchase of buses and technology. A Capital Improvements Review Team commissioned by the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce spent over 2,000 hours conducting a detailed analysis, including 50 on-site visits, of the school district's needs and concluded that the continuation of the sales tax is necessary to provide for the upkeep of existing facilities and equipment, improving the schools' technology infrastructure, adding some new space, and replacing older buses and service vehicles.
Leon County Superintendent Jackie Pons says we wouldn't have the school system we have today if not for this revenue. The continued revenue alone won't produce the more than $41 million per year that the district says it needs over the next 15 years, but it certainly will help. The removal of public education capital outlay (PECO) funds from the state to pay for new facilities, along with the decline in property tax revenues due to the real estate slump, have stripped the school district of important financial resources. Two additional arguments in favor of continuing the tax include the fact that about a third of Leon County's sales taxes are paid by non-residents and that the vast majority of construction spending from the current sales tax went to firms based in Leon and surrounding counties.
Hear directly from the Superintendent and business leaders HERE.
Is this tax worth continuing? Or should our public school system find different resources to fund its needs?
A half-penny sales tax to benefit public schools has been in effect in Leon County for the past 10 years, and it will be up for renewal on voters' ballots this November. Voters will decide whether the tax will be continued for another 15 years. The school system says it need more than $41 million per year to fulfill its goals, and the tax has generated about $18 million annually during the past 10 years.