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Mayor Demings says PAC will help promote 1-cent sales tax for transportation

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings updated the Orlando City Council on the county's transportation initiative on Monday. Image: Orlando via YouTube

A bill awaiting the governor’s signature will make it a little harder for Orange County to communicate with voters about a proposed sales tax for transportation.

But Mayor Jerry Demings says a political action committee and a “whole team of community leaders” will help.

“Before we ask any of our voters to vote for it,” he told the Orlando City Council, “they will know precisely what it is that they will be paying for and what type of benefits they will receive.”

The county has a plan to transform mass transit, reduce traffic congestion and improve bicycle and pedestrian safety. And the County Commission will vote next month on whether to put an additional 1-cent sales tax on the ballot in November to pay for it.

The surtax would raise about $600 million a year and raise the sales tax in Orange County to 7.5%.

A timeline for the proposed 1-cent sales surtax for transportation. Image: Orange County via YouTube

Demings plans to advocate for it, he said. “[W]e have created a PAC, called Moving Orange County Forward, where we will raise the dollars to communicate, to talk about the plan.”

Public funds can’t be used for that. Plus, House Bill 921 — if signed by the governor — will prevent the county from sending even strictly fact-based information to voters.

But it could still provide the facts online, in printed material and at forums.

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