“We must act now”: Mayor Demings pushes penny sales tax hike ahead of key commission vote

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Orange County Commissioners will vote Tuesday on whether to include a proposed penny sales tax increase on the November ballot.

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The tax hike was a focal point during Mayor Jerry Demings’ Regional Economic Summit held at Full Sail University Thursday, the fist such summit since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

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“We must act now to plan for the future,” Mayor Demings said during the summit.

Demings went on to highlight an improving job market and an economy that appears to be rebounding from the pandemic with rapid job growth.

“Our economy is going to improve, we are recovering,” Demings said. “Central Florida continues to be one of the fastest growing regions in the nation, with approximately 1,000 people moving to the area each week.

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To keep up with the growth, Mayor Demings emphasized his initiative for a penny sales tax increase to fund a mass transit overhaul.

If approved, the hundreds of millions of dollars raised would help pay for everything from road improvements to Lynx and SunRail expansions. They’re all projects Demings says are long overdue.

“Our current transportation system is overburdened, and you might agree, underfunded,” Demings said. ”What are we waiting for? The best time to do this was 20 years ago.”

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Demings says he’s confident Orange County Commissioners will agree to put the tax increase on the November ballot.

“I believe that most have warmed up to the idea of allowing the citizens to make the decision for themselves.

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