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November's Ballot May Include Penny for Pasco Renewal

Though the tax doesn’t expire until 2014, supporters want it on the ballot early so there’s no lapse in collection.

Pasco County voters may soon have to decide if they’re willing to continue paying an extra penny in sales tax when they ring up purchases at local stores.

Supporters of the Penny for Pasco sales tax are considering asking voters this November to extend the 1-cent tax, which was put into place in 2004, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Although the tax doesn’t officially expire until 2014, a movement is afoot to get it on the ballot early so there’s no lapse in collection.

Penny for Pasco was put into place to help fund school construction, emergency services equipment purchases, road projects and environmental land acquisition in the county. Some of the money also goes to the county’s municipalities, including New Port Richey.

The tax has helped fund the construction of 11 new schools to date and has enabled the Pasco County School Board to keep its property tax levy down. The Times reports that the tax is responsible for lowering property tax bills by as much as $67 million since its inception.

According to Pasco County, 45 percent of the collected tax goes to the school district and 45 percent to the county. The remaining 10 percent benefits cities within Pasco.

A survey of 400 Pasco voters conducted in October revealed that 78 percent were willing to renew the tax, the Times reported.

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