Political advocacy disguised as education

Hillsborough County government employees and elected officials are using County time and County taxpayer money to advocate for the passage of an upcoming sales tax referendum. This behavior is prohibited by state statute 106.113(2) F.S.…

(2) A local government or a person acting on behalf of local government may not expend or authorize the expenditure of, and a person or group may not accept, public funds for a political advertisement or electioneering communication concerning an issue, referendum, or amendment, including any state question, that is subject to a vote of the electors. This subsection does not apply to an electioneering communication from a local government or a person acting on behalf of a local government which is limited to factual information.

The operative word here is FACTUAL. The only “fact” in all the hype coming from The County is that your sales tax will increase by 14% and that The County will spend every dollar they take in.

The true costs and benefits of this tax are all speculative. Prior to the November 2 vote, not even the actual routes for the Tampa light-rail will be known, let alone how many people will ride public transportation and at what cost.

Yet we see half-million dollar advertising programs coming from The County “educating” the public on only the benefits of the tax increase.

Watch this taxpayer-funded video and count how many County employees and elected officials you see advocating for The Plan. Especially watch for Mr. let-the-voters-decide/no-new-taxes Commissioner Ken Hagan urging approval.

The fact is we cannot afford this tax now, not with this plan.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen


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