County leaders are considering another sales tax referendum for the presidential ballot in 2020 that would help pay for solar panels, affordable housing and broadband internet, and extend the Wild Spaces and Public Places sales tax 20 more years.
The proposed one-cent sales tax would start up in 2025, when current voter approval for the Wild Spaces tax expires.
Alachua County Commissioner Robert Hutchinson pitched the idea at a recent meeting, combining areas of interest from local activist groups and officials.
If approved, county officials estimate that the sales tax could generate around $500 million over its lifespan. Though he supports the idea of a combined infrastructure tax, Hutchinson said he wonders if the scope of the referendum is too much.
“The big fat question is, “Does the broadband internet drag the whole thing down because it attracts opposition?’” he said.
In 2016, voters approved an eight-year, half-cent sales tax, known as Wild Spaces, which went toward parks and conservation land. The new referendum would pick up in 2025 and run through 2045.
When it takes effect, it would add a half cent to Alachua County’s already seven cents sales tax. Purchases for medical supplies, groceries and utility bills are excluded from the sales tax. Vehicle purchases would be hit with the tax, but only up to the first $5,000, according to state law. [click to continue]