Thursday, June 6, 2013

Manatee County Democrats endorse sales tax hike to pay for health care (UPDATED)

Update below.

The Manatee County Democratic Party is endorsing the proposed increase in the sales tax rate to pay for county government's health care programs, including spending for the indigent. Manatee voters will decide on the proposal in a June 18 special election.

Here is the party's news release, issued late Wednesday:
Inspired primarily by state Republicans’ rejection of federal Medicaid funds, the Democratic Party of Manatee County has officially endorsed the half-penny sales tax to fund health care for the working poor. 
Voters will decide June 18, in a special referendum, whether to approve the half-penny. 
 “It’s a moral issue,” said Patricia Benson, chairperson of the Democratic Party of Manatee County. “We are the ‘caring’ party, and we need to care for those who cannot take care of themselves. We need to care for those who do not have the resources or support of family that would enable them to have health insurance.” 
Benson said the Executive Committee voted this weekend to formalize its support for the half-penny after watching the Republican-controlled Florida State Legislature reject Medicaid from the federal government under the Affordable Care Act. The Legislature’s decision leaves an estimated 1 million Florida residents uninsured who would have received coverage through the extension of Medicaid. 
“Our question is, who will take care of the indigent and working poor in Manatee County?” she said. “As for those who say the half-penny will hit the poor the hardest, that’s just not true. For the most part, the tourists and others who can afford to spend lots of money will be paying this extra half-cent. Food and medicine will not be taxed.” 
The half-penny will raise $23 million annually to fund health care for Manatee County’s working poor. County officials plan to use the proceeds to replace property tax revenue as the main source of funding for indigent health care. The half-penny would enable property owners to receive a projected property tax reduction of 13 to 25 percent.

UPDATED, 4 p.m. EDT -

The Healthy Manatee political committee, which is leading the campaign for the sales tax hike, says the Democratic Party is the latest important endorsement for the measure.

Other endorsements touted in a news release issued Thursday include those from resort owner David Teitelbaum; downtown Bradenton booster Jaymie Carter; the Manatee County Medical Society; and the Holmes Beach City Commission.

Carter said the surtax will allow the county to lower its property tax rate -- something County Administrator Ed Hunzeker has offered as part of his proposed 2013-14 budget. (The county commission will have the final say.

 Teitelbaum said the surtax would represent "good fiscal planning" and give the county a way to head off what would be a "major deficit" in health care funding.

“People are starting to recognize the broad based issues that are involved here,” said former Manatee County commissioner Pat Glass, the chair of Healthy Manatee. “They realize the half-penny provides an important economic benefit in addition to a health care benefit. It’s about making our community a healthier environment all the way around.”


  1. An interesting addition to this piece is that the "working poor" of this community is coming under the impression that they shouldn't try to acquire personal health insurance. Between the County Commissioners and the Federal government, as stated by a group I talked with last night, "we will be taken care of - so why should I spend my money on insurance when others will handle it for me"

    Yes folks, government... enabling and encouraging lack of personal responsibility! Now, in just a few more years, they'll wonder why costs of spiraled out of control.

  2. More BS from the party of TAX AND SPEND other people's money. Ms. Benson if you're so caring then join the Salvation Army we have already seen what your Food Stamp President has done with our tax dollars, e.g. stimulus dollars for "shovel ready jobs that weren't quite shovel ready" and the money was squandered on big unions that kicked back our dollars to the Obama campaign and we don't want the County Commissioners to do the same thing.

    It's time for real change in this country like making the generation after generation of DEADBEATS start paying for their own health care; make them responsible for something for the first time in their life.

  3. I guess the Democrat party doesn't care that the county wants to increase sales taxes and utility taxes in order to transfer taxpayer funds to a for-profit hospital group that has already exceeded $1 billion in annual profits.

    So who is the real guilty party of corporate welfare? DEMOCRATS! Yep, instead of a hospital group earning 15% profit annually (up from 11% just 5 years ago), Democrats feel those hospitals should earn more! And YOU get to pay for it! Congrats!

  4. communism did not work before, why try this now????

  5. I have no problem with the Democratic Party supporting whatever they want to support. However, I have a problem when this mouthpiece and others like her cannot go one sentence without bashing the other party. If your crooked party wants to make it a political war then go right ahead. The other crooked party is probably saying the same thing. But dont flat out lie to everyone and act like its the truth. A sales tax increase WONT affect the poor? That is a lie and you know it. Those that qualify as "poor" have many of the day to day items and bills subsidized already except...drum roll please...the exact things that a sales tax would hit. Wake up people! Neither of these two crooked institutions called the Republican or Democratic parties actually care about anything other than money and power. Dont blindly follow either of these train wrecks of morality. Instead, educate yourself on think for yourself.

  6. Democrats in favor of a Regressive Tax!!!! What is this world coming to?

  7. They won't have enough until they have it all. Who determines which people will get free coverage and who doesn't? The message is never mind we will do it. Obama care is supposed to be the fix for everything, now the Democrats say they want more. The IRS will determine who wins and who loses. Do you find all this comforting?

  8. When I get a letter from the county commissioners or county tax assessor stating exactly what I will receive in property tax relief then I will consider voting for this tax increase. Folks, this is just a line of BS to get you to vote for this sales tax increase.
    When was the last time your property tax was reduced?

  9. By encouraging voters to support this tax, you are encouraging more lies about property tax relief. Obama Care is all about taking care of the unfortunate, why do we need more? This will be no more than a windfall for Manatee Memorial who is very profitable. Why don't all the doctors supporting this tax donate five hours a week to help those in need? Carol Whitmore even said approx 600 doctors could benefit from this, including her husband.

  10. I don't expect any tax relief. I would like to see the poor covered for their health.

  11. Sorry Democratic Party, I can not support your logic on this one. The State and Gov need to embrace O'care and get on with the real world.

  12. something to think about ..correct if i mistaken but obamacare does not offer healthcare to Illegals...this tax will provide free healthcare to our local illegal this what its really about? this why it makes no sense to have this tax with Obamacare coming on board?

  13. Has there ever been a tax a Democrat did not endorse....??