Half-Cent Sales Tax Referendum
Randy Dye, 2019 Chairman of the Board
As Chairman of the Board for the Daytona Regional Chamber, a business organization representing over 1,000 businesses, I feel compelled to share the Chamber’s position on the half cent sales tax. We do not take tax increases lightly nor do we apologize for looking at tough decisions through the lens of good business decisions, as we have with the proposed half cent sales tax.
We have expressed our support of the half cent sales tax because of the accountability to the expenditure of funds as outlined in the referendum. Florida law ensures the money can only be used for project types listed on the ballot, a local ordinance clearly defines where the money will go and how it will be spent and upon approval of the referendum, a local citizen oversight committee will be appointed to ensure the money is spent as approved. In addition, the dollars stay here in Volusia County where the tax is generated. It’s important to note that the half cent sales tax will not apply to purchase of gas, groceries or medicine and that it would only apply to the first $5,000 of a purchase for larger expenditures as it is capped at $25 per purchase.
With the proposed half-cent sales tax referendum, we have an opportunity to raise much needed revenue that will be generated by those impacting our infrastructure, 35–40% of which, will be paid by visitors to Volusia County. In addition, the power of matching funds from a state and local level will spread the dollars even further. As an example, currently legislation is being considered in Tallahassee which would provide extensive funding for water projects as well as state road projects. However, these projects would require a match by local government in order to receive these state dollars.
It has long been discussed that we need to grow our economy with higher paying jobs. We cannot compete with other communities and states if our infrastructure is not adequate to move goods and employees to and from business and their homes, and the quality of our water systems are not of the highest standards. These are not just business issues, but issues I care about as a resident in Volusia County. No solution is perfect, however with the 16 cities and the County working together towards these improvements, this is the best option we have at this time.
When I learned recently that Volusia County is one of only six counties in the State that still maintains a 6.5% sales tax while 61 other counties’ sales tax ranges from 7% to 8.5%, it reinforced my belief that the time is now to support the half cent sales tax.