Joined by various individuals and groups on Wednesday, Tallahassee City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow announced his opposition to a proposed property tax and the creation of a Children Services Council in Leon County.
The proposal is on the November ballot.
During his opening remarks, Matlow stated “We come together today to announce a coalition- of all different backgrounds, lived experiences and political persuasions. While we may have come to the conclusion based on different beliefs– nevertheless, we all reached the same conclusion– that now is not the time to create a new independent taxing authority to support a Children Services Council.”
Matlow proposed that “the City and County to update their five year strategic plans to include the wellness of our children. We have the ability to fund the needed services directly, with elected oversight and without a tax increase during a pandemic.”
Those opposing the property tax included Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor, the Network of Entrepreneurs and Business Advocates (NEBA), the Budget Hawks, and the No Blank Check Coalition.
Commissioner Proctor asked that his constituents in District 1 vote against the tax. Proctor, like Matlow, believes that the city and county commissions have the resources to deal with children issues.
Emily Fritz, Chairman of the No Blank Check Coalition, said the taxing and spending authority should stay in the hands of elected officials.
“The Children’s Services Tax is a blank check. There is no plan for how the money will be spent, what the expected results will be, and how to measure the results,” said Fritz.
Russell Price, Chairman of the Budget Hawks, said, “Leon County taxpayers will pay $22 million in taxes this year just from appreciating property values. If passed, the Children’s Service Tax will add $8 million more per year for 12 years. The $30 million increase will impact the poor, the unemployed, and struggling businesses disproportionately. This is the wrong time for the wrong tax.
The proposal is estimated to raise approximately $96 million in taxes on property owners over a 12-year period to fund a council that would administer the proceeds to nonprofit agencies.
By statute, the council will include four elected officials, the administrator of the Department of Children and Families, as well as five citizens nominated by the County Commission and appointed by Governor Ron DeSantis.
On Wednesday, September 30th, City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow and two fiscally conservative budget groups will hold a press conference to announce their opposition to the Children Services Council initiative which is on the November ballot.
The press release is provided below.
Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor has previously stated his opposition to the initiative.
Check back for updates.