Here's the press release, issued late Thursday:
(For) several months residents of Manatee County have been inundated with facts and falsehoods regarding approval or disapproval of the one-half cent sales tax referendum. While politics has entered the fray of these discussions, the Manatee County Branch NAACP believes the basic civil rights of every citizen of Manatee County is to have access to health care regardless of their socio-economic status. The membership of the NAACP supports the one-half cent increase and encourage voters to vote “YES” for the one-half cent sales tax increase on , or during early voting hours at the Supervisor of Elections Office. The office is located at 600 301 Blvd West, Suite 118 (across from DeSoto Square Mall). The hours are through and and .
Since the sale of Manatee Memorial Hospital in 1984, the County expanded medical payments to other healthcare providers in Manatee County along with the reduction of interest rates, etc., which caused an increased financial burden, obligation to cover the cost of indigent health care. While the sale of Manatee Memorial Hospital produced a fund dedicated to providing health care for poor people, officials want the sales tax increase before funds run out in 2015. Some have questioned why the increase now instead of during the 2012 election cycle, which would have been more cost effective. Here again, politics played a role in postponing due to possible ramifications of election or re-election with a proposed tax increase. One could also argue that this sales tax increase would not be required if the Florida Legislators and Governor Scott would have accepted the federal funds ($51M) to expand medicaid. Citizens cannot allow the politics of the situation to determine the need or responsibility to provide health care coverage to indigent, underinsured or uninsured residents in Manatee County. The NAACP has been assured that the funds collected from the one-half cent sales tax will go into a special fund to cover health care costs ONLY.
Please join the Manatee County NAACP and its members by voting “YES” on this critical issue. “..Jesus said when you do for the least of these, you’ve done it unto me....”
Susie Copeland, President
Manatee County NAACP