Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings Won’t Stop Trying to Raise Taxes
Mayor Jerry Demings recently stated he would not rule out another push to raise the local sales tax to shrink an estimated $21-billion gap for transportation improvements.
Demings is beginning his second term as Orange County government’s chief executive. , Mayor Demings made his statements during a briefing after a ceremony where he and three other victorious candidates took their oaths of office. During these statements, he discussed various challenges facing the county, including transportation funding deficits, despite 60% of voters rejecting the 1 percent sales tax during a November 8 referendum.
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TRANSPORTATION PENNY SALES TAX FAILS: Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings says the 1-cent sales surtax for transportation did not garner enough votes for passage. pic.twitter.com/1PX5USqKbx
— Spectrum News 13 (@MyNews13) November 9, 2022
Voter’s made their voices heard on Twitter in the lead-up to the vote.
This is basically Jerry Demings on the campaign trail pushing this special interest fueled sales tax increase in the middle of a rent crisis.
(Dude, got reelected less than 48 hours ago with basically no opposition. I'm going to goof on him. He'll be fine.) #Orlando https://t.co/fCsa3cZsnR pic.twitter.com/No0qFuTp9Z
— Frank Torres (@MrFrankTorres) August 25, 2022
This part seems key.
"Neither Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer nor Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings" (who both took at least $45,000 from Disney their last campaigns) "would say whether they support spending hotel taxes on water quality projects." https://t.co/wIqho4dNuH
— Scott Maxwell (@Scott_Maxwell) February 14, 2020
This rejection came as quite a shock to Demings, who was expecting it to pass. He blamed its failure on “some extraordinary things.”
“I’m sad that the transportation sales tax did not pass but we still have the challenge of being a growing community with nearly 1,000 people moving here each week that is going to continue putting a lot of pressure on our transportation infrastructure.”
” Despite the loss, The Orlando Sentinel reported that “Demings said he still believes a sales-tax increase is the best way to fund the county’s transportation needs,” blaming its failure on “some extraordinary things.”
“We couldn’t have predicted we would experience a hurricane right before the election. We couldn’t have predicted we would continue to see high inflation. We couldn’t have predicted rent prices would go through the roof like they did here within this community. I don’t know about 2024. Circumstances will dictate whether or not that is a viable option for us. I don’t have a crystal ball. But I will not rule it out.”
While some opposition to the measure may have stemmed from circumstance, opposition pre-existed the hurricane, and it’s impossible to know what motivated voters. In any case, Demings won’t get another shot at it for a while. By law, a tax issue such as this may appear only on a general election ballot, and the next one is in November 2024, two years away.
If the measure was passed, it was projected to produce 600 million a year to chip away at the 21-billion dollar price tag, with half of the burden intended to be shouldered by tourists.
“Our ability to move vehicular traffic efficiently will only worsen if we do nothing.”
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