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Honorary Committee includes bipartisan community leaders along with past and present elected officials
SARASOTA COUNTY, FL (December 9th, 2021) – Common Cents for Sarasota County today announced the formation of its political committee to encourage the continuation of Sarasota County’s penny tax to provide funding for public safety, water quality and the environment, and other community needs.
The citizens of Sarasota County will be asked to continue the penny tax on the 2022 November ballot. The referendum passed with more than 66 percent of the vote the last time it was up for renewal, with the Sarasota Herald-Tribune calling it a “solid-gold performer.”
The committee is co-chaired by a bipartisan group of community leaders representing all regions of Sarasota County including past and present elected officials. The honorary co-chairs include: Citizen Tax Oversight Committee Chairman Justin Taylor; former City of Sarasota Mayor Suzanne Atwell; Sarasota County Sheriff Kurt Hoffman; Education Foundation President & CEO Jennifer Vigne; former City of Sarasota Mayor and Sarasota County Commissioner Carolyn Mason; and former Sarasota County School Board member and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Suncoast VP of Communications Gina Taylor.
Benefitting the county since 1989, the penny tax adds one cent to each dollar spent on purchases of up to $5,000. An independent study conducted in August found that over 20 percent of the funds generated from the penny tax are paid by visitors.
Proceeds from the penny tax can only be used for major capital projects and infrastructure improvements. It has paid for numerous projects throughout the county and in every one of its cities, ranging from equipment and facilities for police and fire agencies to water quality improvements to beach renourishments and road repairs.
“As longtime residents of Sarasota County and engaged citizens, the committee members and I have seen the benefits of the penny tax first-hand and understand its importance to maintaining our community’s quality of life looking forward,” says Justin Taylor, who is chairing the committee. “Whether it’s funding public safety agencies to help quicken response times in case of emergency or funding septic replacements and stormwater systems to help mitigate red tide, we believe there are few residents who haven’t benefited from this vital revenue source.”
The penny tax continuation must be approved by voter referendum. The projects it funds are identified, vetted, and overseen by committees of citizens appointed by the municipalities and Sarasota County. The county’s Citizen Tax Oversight Committee is chaired by Taylor.
Penny for Improvements has launched a website with extensive information including case studies on former projects: www.pennyforimprovements.com