Business leaders overwhelmingly oppose Palm Beach County tax hike funding wants, not needs

The Board of Trustees of the Business Political Action Committee of Palm Beach County (BIZPAC) voted by an overwhelming majority last week to oppose a proposed countywide sales tax referendum.

BIZPAC opposes the broad scope of projects, beyond those currently needed, slated for funding in the sales tax hike, along with the length of time the added penny will be paid throughout the county. Particularly troubling was funding for local cultural projects that were already planned to occur with private funds, prior to the extra tax initiative.

“The county government has strayed too far from what it truly needs,” BIZPAC chairman John R. Smith said. “The belief of most BIZPAC Trustees is that the amount of money proposed to be collected, about $1.4 billion, is too large and the proposed expenditures list has too many ‘wants’ rather than ‘needs.’ There’s no need to increase the sales tax.

“In short, the Trustees felt that in these uncertain economic times with the worst recovery from a recession in our modern history, this is not the time for a regressive sales tax increase.”

The business group understands the county’s need for funding deferred capital improvements and repairs, but questions the method by which they are to be funded. They find it illogical that the county is asking for a multi-billion dollar sales tax increase even though it says it only needs $700 million dollars ($70 million a year for 10 years) for those items.

“In an economy where increases in real estate values are outpacing inflation, there should be a budget surplus from which these improvements could be funded without a need for a sales tax increase,” Trustee Robert Harvey said.

BIZPAC has been in existence since 1992 and is known as a strong political voice looking out for the best interests of business in the public arena. The group interviews and endorses political candidates, conducts political training classes and monitors the political actions and voting records of local elected officials.

For more information, contact John R. Smith, Chairman, at 561-844-3988.

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