In an attempt to influence upcoming votes on the FY2017 budget, local groups questioning the budget priorities of the City of Tallahassee commissioned a scientific poll that was conducted on July 7th and July 8th. The poll gathered answers to 13 questions from 400 likely general election voters. The poll had a margin of error of 5.0%.
The groups involved in the poll included Florida TaxWatch, the Network of Entrepreneurs and Business Advocates (NEBA), the Budget Hawks and Citizens for Responsible Spending (CRS).
In a press conference held on Monday at the Florida Press Center, two leaders of the groups explained the findings.
“Tallahassee is a great city but to continue growing and providing opportunities for everyone to pursue their dreams, there must be a balance between what the government wants and how much people can afford to pay,” said Dominic M. Calabro, president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch.
“This poll is evidence that Tallahassee residents demand relief and demand to be heard,” said Barney Bishop, president of NEBA and founder of CRS.
The results show that 57% of poll respondents support splitting the $5 million in savings identified by City of Tallahassee staff between providing property tax relief and infrastructure spending. Also, 60% support property tax relief over the elimination of the business tax which was recently requested by the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce.
On the executive pay raises that hit the news last week, only 17% of respondents felt the raises were deserved.
The results also show the community is less concerned with the pay levels for public safety officials and the 2% raise proposed for city employees. Over 65% of the respondents voiced support for the current salary levels of police officers, firefighters and this year’s proposed 2% raise.
Bishop commented that he had misread the sentiment of the public on the 2% employee raises and encouraged City Commissioners to adopt spending priorities that are responsive to both City employees and the property tax payer.
Other results found that 51% of the respondents believe the City of Tallahassee is on the right track.