In a year of sticker shock for homeowners and renters, school leaders in two Tampa Bay counties are pitching a product that could be a tough sell: Higher property taxes to support public schools.
Special voter-approved taxes are how many Florida schools are plugging gaps as state allocations have not kept up with inflation. Dozens of these measures have passed successfully. Pinellas County voters have renewed a local-option property tax every four years since 2004, and by wide margins.
But this year could be different as the Hillsborough and Pasco County schools go for higher property tax rates. Voters will wonder: If my house doubled in value over the past five years, aren’t the schools getting twice as much money?