JLF Research | Policy Reports

Orange Crush Revisited: County commissioners ask voters a third time for a tax increase

Oct. 12th, 2011
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Key Facts

  • Orange County commissioners are asking voters for a $2.5 million sales-tax increase at a time of high unemployment.
  • Twice before Orange County voters rejected tax increases. Just last November, rural county voters rejected a sales-tax increase by 2 to 1.
  • It seems that commissioners are attempting to win approval this time by cynically manipulating the process. Turnout is likely to be low in the rural county precincts because there are no candidates on the ballot, while urban voters, who are more likely to support an increase, are more likely to turn out because they will also be voting for candidates for city offices.
  • This cynical vote manipulation also costs county taxpayers an extra $85,000 to open rural precincts.
  • Promises to spend the increased tax money for schools and economic development are attempts to gain support of special-interest groups and motivate them to vote for the tax increase.
  • Regardless of the county commissioners’ promises, all of the new sales-tax revenues would be available for spending on any legal purpose. Taxpayers have no legal recourse if the commissioners break their promises.
  • Since the special county taxing authority was established by the legislature in 2007, voters have rejected 82 of 101 requests for tax increases, sending the message that county commissioners must be more responsible stewards of taxpayers’ hard-earned money.

 

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Regional Brief 80: Orange Crush Revisited: County commissioners ask voters a third time for a tax increase
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