Leon County Florida Campaign Sales Tax For Education
- Jun 22, 2012 | Susan McLain
Leon County, Florida is campaigning for the extension of a half-penny sales tax for their public schools.
Called the Leon Alliance for Better County Schools (Leon ABCs), the campaign “…will focus on educating and reaching out to local voters to urge support for the 15-year sales tax extension, which has been placed on the November general election ballot by the Leon County Commission.”
The half-cent tax was “overwhelmingly” passed in 2002 and by its sunset time this year, it will have “…provided $175 million for necessary improvements for every school in the county.” If the extension is approved, it is estimated that $256.9 million would be available to “…support a wide variety of public school renovations and improvements, including construction, reconstruction, retrofitting, renovation, remodeling, land acquisition and improvement and the purchase of technology equipment, hardware and software for the Leon County School District.”
Leon ABCs chairman, Steve Uhlfelder said, “The future of this community lies in the Leon County Schools, and we all have a stake in making those schools as strong as possible. The half-penny tax extension is vitally important for our school facilities to remain in safe condition, our students to learn with modern technology and our teachers to have the tools they need to do their jobs.”
The needs and condition of the district were reviewed by the Capital Improvements Review Team (CIRT) on behalf of the Greater Tallahassee Chamber and provided results indicating “…that the Leon County schools are in desperate need of repairs, and will require funding over the next 15 years to maintain existing facilities and equipment and make limited improvements.”
Using the half-penny sales tax to fund educational needs such as technology and facility improvements reduces the burden borne by local taxpayers “…since 30 percent of the tax dollars are paid from visitors to Leon County. It also encourages a ‘buy local’ approach, as much of the construction work will be done by local contractors.”