If a new poll is accurate, Mayor Lenny Curry’s sales pitch for doubling the gas tax is not going over very well.
By a large margin, Jacksonville residents said no thank you to the proposal to double the local option gas tax while gas prices are soaring.
Curry is calling it a jobs program but local residents see it correctly as a tax increase with dubious benefits.
Curry also has made the claim that the city’s infrastructure is in ruins – after billions of dollars have been spent in the past 25 years on local infrastructure through the River City Renaissance, Better Jacksonville Plan and annual capital outlay budgets of $100 million or more.
Also, since 2008, the city has collected more than $318 million in storm water fees to be spent primarily on drainage improvements but also on septic tank removal.
One claim that apparently has fooled people – if the poll is accurate – is that septic tanks pose a problem.
A majority in the University of North Florida poll approve of phasing out septic tanks, even while opposing the funding mechanism Curry proposed.
Curry has presented zero evidence that septic tanks pose a public health problem. He merely states it as a fact.
He also has suggested that little or nothing has been done about infrastructure needs for 50 years.
In addition to the removal of 6,600 septic tanks, the city has added 740 miles of sewer lines since 1968, and there are now approximately 3,900 miles of lines underneath the 840-square mile city.
The voters also think crime is the worst problem facing the city, not sewer lines and don’t want to throw more money at the Skyway Express.
As he has done since taking office, “Hurry” Curry hasn’t bothered to justify his plan, choosing instead to try to ram it through the City Council with little debate.
In the past, smart mayors such as John Delaney always paved the way for controversial plans by explaining the need.
With his characterization of the plan as a jobs program Curry has garnered the support of local businessmen. And, the liberal local media always can be counted on to support higher taxes (while constantly complaining about the plight of the poor who – they seem to forget – pay taxes).
But the voters may require a little more softening up before they choose to pay more at the pump.
A few members of the City Council want to put the matter to a straw vote of the people, which would only cost about $1 million.
We don’t actually know because Curry only talks to select friends in the media and we aren’t among them, but it appears that Curry doesn’t want to hear from the people.