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Turnout Likely to be Biggest Factor in Today's Special Election


BRADENTON – There might not be a worse time to round up voters in Manatee County than during the summer in an off-election year. School is out, snow birds have headed home and many younger families have embarked on summer vacations. Therefore the Manatee County voters who do participate in today's special election will likely have a greater proportional impact than usual.

The two-item referendum is likely to have a major impact on the tax base and might even signal the beginning of a major shift in tax policy. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent to sway the electorate, which I'm sure the vested interests think will be much easier if turnout is low. 

Despite efforts by some commissioners to wait until the next scheduled election, hundreds of thousands of dollars will likely be spent conducting the referendums today (though they also could have been included in November of 2012).

Much of the information being circulated is misleading, while others are outright fabrications. Voters are being told from both ends that the two items – one to implement a sales tax in order to maintain health care spending, the other two add property tax abatements to the county's business incentives – are simple matters with simple stakes. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In reality, there are a plenty of special interests that stand to benefit by the millions depending on how the vote goes. The Bradenton Times has put together its exclusive Voter's Guide to help voters access fact-based information and analysis on both issues. We urge voters to get informed and participate in the democratic process.


TBT Editorial: County Failed to Make Case on Half-Penny Sales Tax


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