On November 7, 2017, 83% of Pinellas County voters wisely approved an extension of the 1% county sales tax for 2020-2030. The current extension would expire in 2020, so lawmakers are planning ahead. The one percent county sales tax is charged on top of the 6 percent state sales tax on purchases, although there are some exclusions such as groceries and medical items. The sales tax is collected by businesses at the point of purchase and then accounted for and remitted to the government.
The one percent county sales tax is used primarily to fund long term construction and capital investment projects that are vital to the well-being and growth of our local economy. The investments are made in the areas of Water Quality and Flood Prevention, Preserving Parks and Our Environment, Safe and Secure Community and Roads, Bridges and Trails.
During the current 2010 – 2020 decade, $66.8m (10.1%) is allocated to Water and Flood, $49.8m (7.5%) to Parks and Environment, $205.9m (31.1%) to Safe and Secure Community and $339.9m (51.3%) to Roads, Bridges and Trails. Some of the many projects that have added to the quality of life and attractiveness of our community include reconstruction of bridges, widening of roads, the 47-mile Pinellas Trail, 165 major water quality and flood control projects, 20 new fire and emergency stations, new fire and police vehicles, radio towers and an animal emergency shelter. More than 2000 acres have been purchased for parks and preserves, 3 new parks established and 21 upgraded.
This is great news for local business owners because our economy depends and thrives on tourism and seasonal residents. Tourism accounted for an estimated $9.7 Billion in revenue to businesses in Clearwater and St Petersburg in 2016. This represents a 5% increase over 2015, which is huge. Tourism continues to thrive because of the quality of amenities our area has to offer. The continued funding of our local infrastructure and amenities will help keep Pinellas County a major vacation destination and Pinellas County businesses prosperous!