Osceola, Volusia voters reject sales tax hikes

Voters in two Central Florida counties cast ballots on proposed sales tax increases on Tuesday.

Osceola County residents overwhelmingly rejected a one-cent sales tax increase by a margin of two-to-one.  With over 95 percent of the vote tallied, 67 percent had voted against the increase to 33 percent in favor.  Over 35,000 voters participated in the special eleciton, which represents a little more than 16 percent of all registered voters in the county.

Voters who supported the sales tax increase said the additional funds would have helped ease congested roads in the area and funded other transportation projects. Osceola County has seen tremendous growth lately and proponents of the tax wanted to shift some of that burden to tourists, they said.

By rejecting the one cent increase, this means the combined sales tax rate in Osceola County will remain at 7.5 percent -- the state sales tax is 6 percent while the county sales tax is 1.5 percent.

Elsewhere, Volusia County residents were asked to consider a half-cent sales tax increase.  Voters rejected the measure by 55 to 45 percent.  Over 100,000 votes were cast in the special mail ballot election, representing roughly 27 pecent of all registered voters.  

The extra money would have gone toward infrastructure, water quality and flood control projects, according to its supporters.  All ballots went out in the mail a few weeks ago. 

By rejecting half-cent increase, this means the combined sales tax rate in Volusia County will remain at 6.5 percent -- the county sales tax portion of that amount is 0.5 percent.