Thursday, March 15, 2018

Good News (Except for Rays): Hillsborough Bed Tax Can Now Be Used for Even More Things

It's no secret Hillsborough County is going to raise its bed tax from 5 to 6 cents on the dollar, but County Commissioner Ken Hagan has tried to keep a secret all the other things the revenues could pay for, basically already carving out the revenues for a new Rays stadium.

"It can't be used for law enforcement or fire-rescue or libraries," Hagan has said in his repeated efforts to stress bed tax revenues are limited in their uses.

But that's terribly misleading, since those revenues CAN be used for tons of things besides a stadium: from marketing to aquariums to performance centers to arts to beaches to tourist-driving festivals.

In fact, since nobody else bothered to look, I found at least $550,000 a year earmarked in the county’s general revenue budget to help promote major Tampa Bay Sports Commission (TBSC) events, such as NCAA championships. While the TBSC doesn’t use all of the funds every year, those expenditures could be funded by the bed tax, which would allow the county to spend that half-million-or-so dollars on general revenue items such as schools, sewers, or roads. A $25,000 annual general revenue subsidy for the Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival would also appear to be eligible for bed tax funding.
Annnnnnnd, the state legislature just allowed cities to spend that money on even more things!

The Tampa Bay Times reports on HB 7087, on its way to the governor's desk, which allows counties such as Hillsborough and Pinellas to now use bed tax money on "transportation and sewer projects that benefit tourists and the tourism industry."

So the next question is whether Hillsborough leaders will continue to just assume the Rays deserve the $6 million per year the county's bed tax will soon raise...or if they should examine if there are better possible uses for that money?

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  1. You really are a clueless moron aren't you? What's your real agenda Noah????

  2. What exactly was clueless about the article, Mrs. Hagan?

  3. You should go back to being a mascot for the Sox. You were better at impersonating Wally the Green Monster than you are at impersonating an unbiased reporter.

  4. My girlfriend works at the Straz Center, in DT TPA. She mentioned that they are always looking for funds to improve that particular performing arts center. On the face most wouldn’t think much of that until you realize Straz is the fifth largest performing arts center in the US, and in competition with those they are either just ahead or behind of, as it relates to attracting Broadway plays, etc.

    I’d imagine they’d potentially pose a formidable opponent to the others seeking bed tax funds.