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I Voted (Against a Tax)

March 8, 2006

Tags Taxes and Spending

I did something yesterday that I have not done in a very long time—I voted. No, I didn't vote for a Republican or a Democrat. I voted against a tax.

The state in which I live (Florida) has a sales tax rate of 6 percent. Each of the 67 counties in Florida has an option to add on a discretionary sales surtax. Only 9 counties have not done so. My county (Escambia—in the Florida panhandle) is one of four counties that has a rate higher than 1 percent. The 1.5 percent we pay on top of the state's 6 percent consists of a 1 percent tax that expires in May 2007 and a .5 percent tax that expires in December 2007. The voters in Escambia county voted for these taxes in previous years.

Up for a vote yesterday was the 1 percent tax. I am sorry to say that it was extended by the voters until 2017 by a vote of 64 percent to 36 percent. Naturally, all of the elected officials in the county pushed for the extension of the tax. The county sent out a nice, expensive flyer (at taxpayer expense of course), called "Your Penny at Work," to show all the people in the county all the parks, roads, and fire trucks that have resulted from the tax in previous years.

But regardless of the county's propaganda about how important this tax is to county revenues, I still don't understand why the majority of people in the county voted to pay this tax. People are always complaining about the government and taxes, but when given an option to discontinue a tax—they vote for it. Politicians must love these kinds of voters.

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