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Sales tax increase could be proposed for Lee County

Posted at 10:51 PM, Jan 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-12 22:51:13-05

LEE COUNTY, Fla. --- Lee County School Board members are expected to discuss a half penny sales tax increase proposal at a workshop on January 16th.

Supporters say the extra revenue is needed to keep up with the swelling student population.

But not everyone is on board with the proposal. 

"Stop going to the taxpayers and asking them for money," said former school board member Don Armstrong. 

Armstrong says the board should pay for what it needs by trimming what he calls excessive spending.

"Why don't you start looking at your budget very carefully, seeing where you can cut, and start making your cuts."

School Board Chair Cathleen Morgan declined 4 In Your Corners request for an on camera interview, but Fox 4 by phone the tax increase is not the only option.

She says the district could borrow money from other projects and put that towards higher priority projects.

Armstrong says the district should already be collecting more money because it runs on property taxes. 

"Now you are bringing in more people who are buying homes. If you look at our real estate market it is going crazy right now. 

Armstrong is also upset the board chose an 8 a.m. start time for the meeting, when many people are at work. 

"I'll say this directly to the board, and directly to the superintendent: Remember, you work directly for the people of Lee County, they deserve to have a voice, they deserve to be heard."

Even if the board approves the tax increase, it will need to go before voters, presumably in the 2018 general election.