BRADENTON – Opposition to the upcoming Manatee County referendum on implementing a half-cent sales tax has spanned the ideological spectrum, but Tea Party Manatee has been the plan's most politically-active opponent. Having already secured a billboard, the group released a video campaign this week that seeks to educate voters on reasons why they should oppose the bill, which it calls a "money grab by private companies trying to take advantage of our community." Tea Party Manatee President Steve Vernon called it "a totally grassroots effort."
"We're asking our friends, family, and neighbors to forward the YouTube video to their friends, family, and neighbors via Facebook, Twitter, and emails," explained Vernon. "Additionally, we also plan to walk door-to-door in our neighborhoods and drive to businesses to pass out a handout with the YouTube link on it and ask as many people as possible to click on it. We even have some guys making DVDs out of it so they can pass those out."
Vernon says the group knows it's outgunned, but is hoping to overcome that disadvantage with "old-fashioned people power."
"It's a total boots-on-the-ground effort, since we can't afford glossy brochures and TV & radio commercials every night like the Big Money guys."
Another group calling itself Healthy Manatee has been actively campaigning for a yes vote. The Political Committee, which is led by former Manatee County Commissioner Pat Glass, has come under fire for incorrectly asserting that the tax is tied to property tax relief for county residents, which they've also promoted in a video. Check out each group's video below.
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