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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Voter’s made their voices heard on Twitter in the lead-up to the vote.

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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