Tampa City Council axes Mayor Castor’s tax hike

The Tampa City Council voted early Wednesday to reject Mayor Jane Castor’s proposed budget and tax increase.

The city council members rejected the mayor’s budget and a planned tax increase after hours of public debate.

A majority of council members believe that Tampa citizens are already in a difficult situation due to the high cost of living, and that a millage hike would exacerbate the affordable housing dilemma.

“When we’ve passed increases in the past, special assessments or millage increases, we didn’t have the housing affordability crisis in Tampa, but now it’s just built out so much, and you know, I think this is really the wrong time to do it, and we shot it down,” said Chairman Guido Maniscalco.

Castor stated that the 16% tax increase was required to address road improvements, staffing shortages, and emergency response times.

Without the tax increase, the city council must devise a new spending plan. Next week, a workshop will be held to determine where spending savings might be made, and a revised budget will be presented.

On September 13th, there will be a budget workshop. The workshop will result in the creation of a spending plan for the city, but no action will be taken at this meeting.

The next public hearing on the budget is scheduled for September 19th. This meeting is expected to see the final approval of a new budget.

“We saw this several mayors ago through the Great Recession, there were significant cuts, but the quality of service wasn’t affected. We’re not seeing that, we’re not looking at massive layoffs, it has nothing to do with that. It is, what is going to be allocated, what is going to be prioritized,” said Maniscalco.

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