Hillsborough Commissioners Poleax Constituency to Save Tax Boondoggle

Les Miller, chair, Hillsborough County CommissionLes Miller, chair, Hillsborough County Commission

Six Hillsborough county commissioners are intentionally putting taxpayers at tremendous financial risk and signing away the rights of their own constituents and future commission boards.

County Commission Chairman Les Miller, a supporter of the $16 billion All For Transportation (AFT) tax hike boondoggle, urged the board to approve bonding out $10 million of AFT tax proceeds while the tax is in litigation and under legal uncertainty. He also promoted authorization for the county to file a bond validation lawsuit and sue the county’s own citizens.

The video and the transcript of the meeting can be found here. The entire transcript of the meeting can also be found here. Search on “bond validation” to find the entire discussion of this agenda item. It is eye-opening.

The commissioners voted 6-1 to approve bonding a portion of the tax proceeds which are in litigation. Only Stacey White, who brought the lawsuit against the transit tax, voted no.

The litigation has ramifications for every county and municipality in Florida. Serious legal questions must be resolved that are bigger than just Hillsborough County.  Can a county charter supercede state law? The rule of law must be protected.

Miller is not only chair of the BOCC, but also sits as chair of the HART board and chair of the Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization — all entities receiving billions of AFT tax dollars. That does not represent good governance.

No one even knows where the $10 million was manufactured. As Patch.com reported, Commissioner Pat Kemp stated, “If it’s not valid, if your (White’s) lawsuit prevails, we’re not on the hook for anything but this relatively small bond issue,” she said.

And even more egregious is that bonding the AFT tax proceeds by any agency takes away the rights of citizens and future commission boards to change or repeal the AFT tax hike charter amendment.

Apparently, filing this bond validation lawsuit provides a faster path in the appellate process. It enables the case.

White filed a lawsuit in December, case #18-CA-011749, challenging the AFT tax hike charter amendment on numerous counts. White’s lawsuit and associated legal proceedings and filings can be found on the Hillsborough County Clerk of the Court’s website by following the instructions.

Hillsborough County has now sued the state of Florida and all taxpayers, citizens and property owners in Hillsborough County to take away the rights of citizens in Hillsborough County or future county commission boards to change or repeal the AFT tax hike charter amendment.

Citizens and taxpayers are subservient to the bondholders and six county commissioners — Miller, Kemp, Sandy Murman, Ken Hagan, Mariella Smith, and Kimberly Overman — affirmed that.

Sharon Calvert is a conservative activist and with her husband, Mark, writes the blog Eye on Tampa Bay. This commentary is made up of excerpts taken from Eye on Tampa Bay.