Why a sales tax?

Change for Change
Fact 1: Improvements in Student Achievements
Fact 2: Job Opportunities and a Better Educated Workforce
Economic Health of the Community Workforce
Fact 4: Better Prepared for Natural Disasters

Borrowing More Money

Principal and interest

We could borrow more money-The sales tax will not completely resolve all funding issues, and money may still need to be borrowed in the future. However, the additional revenue a sales tax will bring will significantly reduce the amount that we would need to borrow. Saving on interest costs means more money to dedicate to needed new buildings and building improvements. Our annual debt payment this year totals $51 million. Borrowing more money will increase that annual amount, taking money away from what we can use to provide maintenance on our existing buildings and provide technology to our students.

Impact Fees

We could ask for an increase of impact fees; currently, the Board of County Commission sets the impact fee rate. The rate we have now is 45% of the recommended rate, and we have asked in the past to increase this rate to 100%. However, the reality is, even if we were collecting impact fees at 100% of the allowed rate, they would only give us about $45 million of the $478 million shortfall. This, by itself, is not the solution to our issue.

Financial Audits

General Obligation Bond

We could ask voters for an additional property tax (General Obligation Bond), but this would not generate as much money as a sales tax, potentially cost individual property owners more than a sales tax, and would be an increase in property taxes. Only our property owners would pay. With a sales tax, our tourists will pay 30% of what we expect to collect.

Property Tax Increase

We could ask the legislature for a property tax increase; the legislature tells us the maximum property tax we can levy without voter approval. We have lobbied for that amount to be raised, but the legislature has not changed the current maximum. In addition, this would be an increase in property taxes; only our property owners would pay. With a sales tax, our tourists will pay 30% of what we expect to collect.

Reduce Spending

We could reduce spending--The District has done just that. During the recession (just like everyone else), the District had to cut expenses. In the operating budget, we made $86 million in reductions, including the elimination of over 200 department positions, reductions to support staff, teacher planning time, and programs such as art and music. In the capital fund, funds for maintenance of existing buildings were reduced 36%, $7 million per year. The district increased borrowing to fund needed schools, which meant even more money going to pay debt instead of maintaining existing buildings. The end result is continued growth, more new schools needed, and existing buildings in need of maintenance, upgrade, and care due to budget reductions.