Manatee voters give big thumbs down to sales tax hike

June 18, 2013 

Election results show Manatee voters overwhelmingly rejecting a proposed increase in the sales tax to pay for health care programs and approving a measure that would allow the county to award new and expanding businesses property tax breaks in exchange for new jobs.

On the sales tax question, 23,710, or 60.8 percent against; and 15,280, or 39.2 percent for, with all 99 precincts reporting.

On the tax exemption question, 20,396, or 52.5 percent voted yes; and 18,424, or 47.5 percent, voted no.

Officials say the sales surtax would raise $23 million to pay for county health care programs, including services to indigent. Proponents also argued passage would allow the county to slash property taxes by as much as 25 percent.

County Administrator Ed Hunzeker has proposed such a swap as part of his proposed 2013-14 budget -- but as opponents have noted, the ballot question did not include such language.

The county commission would have the final say on whether property taxes would be cut.

2013 Special Referendum Election Results

Sales Surtax Referendum

Position Votes
Yes  15,280 / 39.18%
No Winner  23,710 / 60.81%
Precincts Reporting 99 / 99

Tax Exemption Referendum

Position Votes
Yes Winner  20,396 / 52.53%
No  18,424 / 47.46%

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