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Some Florida Counties Got Millions from Federal Government and Are Still Raising Taxes

With millions of covid funds disbursed to help make up the difference, that hasn’t stopped cities from raising taxes.

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Since March of 2020, Florida cities received covid relief funds to help shore up any loss they occurred from the shutdowns, but with the millions of covid funds disbursed to help make up the difference, that hasn’t stopped cities from raising taxes.

From 2020-2021 the city of Jacksonville (Duval County) raked in over $500 million from the Trump and Biden administration in covid money. Yet that didn’t stop the city from promoting and raising local 3 types of local taxes. In November of 2020 the city supported the voter approval of raising the sales tax for schools, It passed.

A year later in 2021, The city council voted to double the local gas tax from 6 cents per gallon to 12 cents. In 2022, it then supported raising the local property tax (voter approved) for local schools.

The next big county planning to raise taxes (after getting millions) is Orange County. From 2020-2021, Orange County received over $500 million from the federal government through covid relief dollars, yet the county mayor says they need more.

This time it’s for the roads. Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings wants to increase the sales tax to fund transportation.

Most of the money would be centered around the metro Orlando area. Demings tried this in 2022 and was defeated by the voters with 58% appointing the tax hike. He wants to try it again for 2024.  The proposed tax increase would go up one cent from 6.5% to 7.5%.

See also  Tampa-Area Democrats Outraged Over County Commission for Rejecting Property Tax Hike Vote

Demings’ office says it would raise around $600 million a year for the next 20 years, but opponents say paying for the roads doesn’t need to include a local tax hike. In addition to the Covid money Orange County and Orlando received, they also have seen a slush of money come their way over the last four years.

In September of 2023, the Orlando Business Journal reported that Orlando took in $2 Billion in federal and state funds for transportation projects, “and could get more.”

The Journal also noted that under the 2021 Infrastructure law, allocated $283 million for the expansion of Terminal C at the airport and as well as additional funding for Central Florida’s “other transportation infrastructure needs.”

Mayor Demmings says the county is in a deficit of $21 Billion in transportation needs, but out of the $6.7 billion budget for 2023-2024, only $100 million (1.5%) is earmarked for transportation.

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