Jacksonville Mayoral Candidate Wants to Use Sales Tax to Pay Down Pension Debt

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Bill Bishop, a candidate for mayor of Jacksonville, this week addressed one of the city’s hottest topics: pension debt and reform.

Bishop said he would levy a sales tax increase and use the revenue to pay down the city’s pension debt.

From the Florida Times-Union:

City Councilman Bill Bishop, who is running for mayor, said Monday during a forum hosted by the Meninak Club of Jacksonville that putting a half-cent sales tax on the ballot would be the best way to shore up the finances of Jacksonville’s pension system.


Bishop said the economy is recovering so tax revenue is increasing, but not fast enough for growth to solve the city’s financial problems. He said a sales tax spreads the cost widely among residents as well as those who come into Duval County for shopping.

A half-cent sales tax would generate about $63 million and it would come with an expiration date if voters approved it. But state law currently doesn’t allow a sales tax geared specifically toward paying down pension debt. State lawmakers have been cool to the idea so there’s nothing in the works to schedule an election.

Jacksonville has been grapping for months with a way to pay for a proposed increase in pension contributions to the tune of $400 million over the next 10 years.

The city is trying to get out in front of its pension debt, to keep costs from spiraling further.


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