Voters to decide Tuesday if there will be a 10-year “penny tax”

Northwest Florida

SANTA ROSA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — Voters will head to the polls Tuesday for a special election in Santa Rosa County to vote on a proposed one-cent sales tax.

If the majority of voters say yes that means the one-cent sales tax will replace the current half-cent sales tax.

It would raise an estimated $18 million dollars each year for 10 years which equals about $180 million total.

“If you don’t keep up with the infrastructure as the county grows all you’re gonna have is problems so a penny is a good idea,” Greg Jones said.

Half of the money would pay for road improvements and drainage projects. Thirty percent would go to support public safety like fire departments and law enforcement. Twenty percent would be for quality of life projects including parks and recreation improvements.

“I’m opposed to any new taxes, period,” Stephen Callahan said.

Callahan will vote no. He thinks county leaders should try to find the needed money somewhere else.

“They need to try to get some fiscal responsibilities in the budgets they currently have,” Callahan said. “There’s been enough government waste everywhere.”

Jones said nothing is free and residents must pay the price to improve their own communities.

“People always want something for nothing,” Jones said. “No matter where you live they want something for nothing. It doesn’t work that way.”

The current half-cent sales tax is set to expire December 31. If the voters say yes Tuesday, the sales tax will increase to 7.5 percent January 1, 2020.

Polls are open Tuesday from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

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