PBC discusses sales tax proposal

Posted at 7:30 PM, May 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-03 19:30:24-04

Some are saying it's just a penny.

Others say it's worth a whole lot more than that. 

Tuesday, Palm Beach County Commissioners continued the debate over whether or not to raise the sales taxes from 6 cents per dollar to 7 cents. 

The county says that would generate $2.7 billion dollars in revenue over the next decade for much needed projects. 

Half of the money from this tax would go to schools - the rest to the county and city governments.

A component that would provide funding to cultural projects and economic development was removed at Tuesday’s meeting

Supporters say the tax money is necessary to replace aging infrastructure. 

However, some residents wonder if it's worth the cost. 

Greenacres resident Paola Rico says her son Martin is one of a kind. 
“He's five years old. He has Down Syndrome,” she says. “He does have his challenges, but in the end we love him.”
That love comes with the need to provide - everything from clothes, to toothpaste to food. 

It already isn’t cheap.
If the proposed one cent sales tax increase is passed in Palm Beach County - Paola says she'll likely feel the impact on her wallet even more. 
“It does put a strain on families - not just me but everybody else who has to pay those taxes,” Paola says.
She's done the calculations.
Paola says while the extra one percent on her daily purchases would seem small - an extra 6 cents here, and extra dollar there -  at the end of the year it adds up.

She's figured it could add up to $156 a year just for her son - potentially more. 
Not the news she wants to hear - especially with a new baby on the way this year.
“Multiply that by two children now…it does come a long way,” she says. “You're looking over 300 dollars.” 
At Tuesday’s county commission meeting several people - including school board members - stepped forward to talk about why the tax is necessary. 
Supporters say it would fixing crumbling bridges, damaged roads, and schools badly in need of improvement - ensuring the future for kids like Martin.  
“The sales tax is the one and only option that the school board has,” school board member Frank Barbieri told the county commission Tuesday. “We have no other options.” 
Others say it would hurt taxpayers. 
“Confiscating money from taxpayers for these ideas is not a good idea,” one resident told the commission.

The modified referendum is set to go back to the cities and school board for approval before it’s brought back to the county commission.

If the commission moves forward with the referendum, it'll eventually be in the hands of the voters to give final approval.

Paola isn't sure she’ll be among those giving the thumbs up.
“I’m sure someone can find another solution to providing for that,” she says.