Broward Politics: Sales Tax Hike’s Fishy Math






Supporters of a sales tax hike claim that tourists will pay one third of the new costs.

I’ve been hearing that figure for decades – tourists pay 30 percent of the sales tax — from the county government. It is rarely, if ever, questioned.

Unfortunately, the figure may be inaccurate.

Visit Florida estimates that in 2012 tourists generated 23 percent of the state’s sales tax revenue, according to the Miami Herald. That includes areas much richer in tourists such as Orlando.

The state’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research estimates the figure at 13-15 percent, The Herald wrote.

January, 2016 statistics from the state indicate that 21 percent of Broward’s roughly $3 billion in sales tax revenue paid for “tourism and recreation” purchases.

The state defines that category to include hotels and motels, bar and restaurant sales, liquor stores, photo and art stores, gift shops, admissions, sporting goods, rentals, and jewelry stores.

It is a highly arbitrary calling purchases in those establishments part of the tourist industry. Large numbers of locals patronize jewelry and sports stores, plus buy liquor, drink at bars and eat at restaurants.

No doubt some purchases by tourists are included in other sales tax categories such as non-durables: “Food and convenience stores, department and clothing stores, drug stores, antique dealers, bookstores, florists, pet dealers and suppliers, social organizations, storage, communications firms, print shops, nurseries, vending machines, utilities, and any “kind” that doesn’t fit into the other categories.”

How can you possibly come up with a figure of the number of tourists buying products in these locations?

The 30 percent figure is simply a guess.

It is about as accurate as the cost figures on the downtown street car system The Wave and any city project proposed by the sales tax increase proponents.

Maybe we should remember one current county project currently underway – the new Main Courthouse.

It remains empty more than a year after its first scheduled completion date.

The building was supposed to open in the summer of 2015. It is now October, 2016.




New Broward Courthouse: Over a year late and still not open!



I guess that it’s close enough for government work.

Close enough, just like the claim that 30 percent of the sales tax hike will be paid by tourists.



7 Responses to “Broward Politics: Sales Tax Hike’s Fishy Math”

  1. Follow the Money says:

    Are there any county commissioners speaking out against this sales tax or questioning the numbers or are they all voting in lockstep with the lobbyists and companies that want to spend this $15B?
    Where do the city and county revenues go that were already planned to pay for some of these big projects?
    Why is this plan 30 years in Broward and only 10 in Palm Beach?
    Inquiring minds (and voters) want to know.

  2. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    The entire field of South Florida like New York City resort figures are unscientific and uncertain because becgovergovernmgover

  3. Sam O'Sham says:

    The tourist percentage figure is irrelevant. Whatever the tourist spends, his budget is pretty finite. Any tax he incurs just means that much less he has to spend on goods and services.

    Ask anyone in the tourist business (Hotel, restaurant, bar, tourist attraction etc) if they think taking a 30% cut(or even 23%, 21%, 15% or 13%) is worth it.

    We are not balancing our budgets on the backs of tourists, but on the backs of local businessmen and service workers. We are stealing from our own economy.

  4. Lieberman's Folly says:

    They are desperate to keep the problems with the new courthouse under wraps until after the elections. If the public finds out before the election, The penny tax will never win.

  5. SOB says:

    agree with #1, why is is 30 years?? then what?? and the convoluted % tween County and City that switches, part way thru.
    we see the fancy list of projects
    proposed, says who, will the projects be changed to fit the political needs.
    most of all will this LOWER the tax % as currently set??

  6. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    I see from news reports in Palm Beach County non partisan budget groups reviewed their penny tax plan AND OF COURSE NO SUCH THING WAS DONE IN BROWARD COUNTT.T

  7. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Everyone please go read this excellent Sun-Sentinel investigative report:


    An excellent, well-researched piece by Susannah Bryan, John Maines and Emily Miller.

    Now if they could just get rid of those annoying pop-up ads and clamorous videos on their website!!!