'Ax the Tax' group takes a swing at Orange County's plan to enhance transportation – Orlando Sentinel
Foes of Orange County’s proposed 1% enhance to the gross sales tax for transportation formally launched their marketing campaign Wednesday to defeat the referendum, briefly planting dozens of “Ax the Tax” indicators on the garden of the County Administration Constructing.
“Elevating taxes in a recession is simply unsuitable,” mentioned Brian Henley, 55, president of the not-for-profit group, which has resurrected the title utilized by the late anti-tax crusader Doug Guetzloe to efficiently persuade voters to reject a smaller enhance about 20 years in the past.
Henley led a small group of vocal anti-taxers against the proposed penny-per-dollar enhance championed by Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings as important to reworking an inefficient transportation community servicing the nation’s tourism juggernaut.
Amongst these backing Henley had been a number of Republicans, former county commissioner Mildred Fernández; Congressional hopefuls Calvin Winbush and Scotty Moore; and tech entrepreneur Chris Messina, who misplaced to Demings within the August mayoral main.
However Henley additionally shared the group’s microphone at its inaugural rally with Cynthia Harris, an outspoken Democrat who final month fell six votes in need of profitable a spot within the runoff election to exchange term-limited District 6 Commissioner Victoria Siplin.
“Properly, I’m right here to say immediately we’re resisting,” Harris mentioned. “Individuals are hurting. Inflation is at its highest level within the final 40 years and nonetheless we try to recuperate from this pandemic however once more our native authorities desires to proceed to commit freeway theft on the residents who they declare they’re wanting to assist as a result of they don’t prioritize us as an asset.”
A spokesperson for Transfer Orange County Ahead, the political motion committee created to advertise the tax, didn’t instantly return a name for remark.
The proposed penny-per-dollar enhance would enhance the county gross sales tax from 6.5% to 7.5% starting Jan. 1.
County leaders estimate it would elevate about $600 million a 12 months.
The 1% surcharge is estimated to generate $12 billion over the following 20 years if voters approve it Nov. 8.
Proponents of the measure estimate that 51% of the invoice might be paid by the tens of millions of holiday makers who trip in Orlando.
Based on the spending plan drafted by county leaders, anticipated tax proceeds can be divvied up 3 ways — 45% for bus and rail choices; 45% for county highway initiatives, together with bicycle and pedestrian security measures; and 10% for municipal transportation initiatives.
It’s one penny too many.
— Brian Henley, cofounder of Ax the Tax, a bunch against Orange County’s proposed 1% enhance within the native gross sales tax.
Noting the Federal Reserve once more raised rates of interest by 0.75 proportion factors Wednesday, the fifth bump of the 12 months and the third consecutive three-quarter level hike, Henley mentioned low-income folks already struggling to pay payments can’t afford a sales-tax hike, too.
He mentioned he has obtained calls from different anti-tax sympathizers in different revenue brackets anxious about growing residing prices.
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“They’re considerably embarrassed to say that additional $25 or $30 or no matter it’s going to be is the breaking level,” he mentioned.
Housing prices, fuel and meals are all rising, straining lean family budgets.
“It’s one penny too many,” he mentioned.
Henley mentioned the group has attracted a wide range of supporters from Tea Celebration individuals who consider no tax is an efficient tax.
Messina repeated criticism he raised throughout the mayor’s race, calling the gross sales tax regressive.
“It hurts most the folks that it intends to assist probably the most,” Messina mentioned.