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Supporters praise 'Penny for Pasco' tax referendum

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The Penny For Pasco sales tax has been around since 2005. The chairman of the Pasco Citizens Committee says its results can be seen countywide.

In the upcoming November election, Pasco county residents are being asked to renew a one percent sales tax know as "Penny for Pasco."

There is no organized opposition, and backers of the sales tax renewal say that's because the tax has worked.

The Penny For Pasco sales tax has been around since 2005 and the chairman of the Pasco Citizens Committee, Michael Cox, says its results can be seen countywide.

"Fire trucks, ambulances, sheriffs deputies, cars, police cars. It has paid for computers in the sheriff's deputies cars. It has paid for automatic defibrillators that are all over the county," Cox explained.

In addition, under the tax, voters know how much money will be raised and how that money will be spent. And, Cox said, there has been strict oversight.

When a sheriff once asked that motorcycles be paid for by the penny, he had to explain why.

"County administration said, 'Well, wait a minute. We told the voters that was gonna buy cars for deputies, not motorcycles,'" recalled Cox. "So they made the sheriff come to the county commission and plead his case, so to speak."

The motorcycles were approved because they still fulfilled the stated mission of getting more deputies on the street.

Forty-five percent of the percent sales tax goes to Pasco County government, 45 percent goes to Pasco County schools and 10 percent to the six municipalities in the county.

Cox said Zephyrhills got a new high school through Penny for Pasco, and Gulf High School is being completely rebuilt.

He said that the 18 year history of accomplishments makes him optimistic that voters in the fast-growing county will approve a 15-year-renewal of the tax.

I started my journalism career delivering the Toledo Blade newspaper on my bike.