Voters in Manatee County split on two controversial issues

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BRADENTON, Fla. - Voting is over in Manatee County for a special election with two controversial issues on the ballot.

Tens of thousands of votes were cast with voters deciding whether to approve a proposed ad velorum tax exemption and a half-cent sales tax.

Both referendums generated fierce debate, but in the end, Manatee County voters spoke.

They voted in favor of the ad velorum tax exemption that would give companies that meet certain requirements a tax break on their facility and equipment. 

"We are thrilled. We had a great team working on this initiative. Now, it will be an even playing field with all the other counties in the Tampa Bay region," said Sharon Hillstrom with the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corporation.

Manatee County now joins other counties in the area which already provide the exemption to qualifying businesses.

However, voters did not approve the proposed half-cent sales tax.  It would have raised the sales tax from 6.5% to 7% on all items less than $5,000. 

"We are exceedingly pleased with the outcome," said Manatee County Tea Party President Steve Vernon. "Our message overcame the misinformation and deception that the opposition presented in their message."

County officials had hoped to use the money generated by the tax to pay for indigent health care.  They will now have to go back to the drawing board to figure out a new way to cover the estimated $9 million cost.

"Some you win, some you lose. It will be paid for one way or another. This happened to be, in my opinion, a very, very good economic way to do it, and a noble way to deal with an issue," said Pat Glass with Healthy Manatee.



Precincts reporting: 99 of 99


Shall Manatee County levy a countywide one-half cent sales surtax for a ten year period commencing January 1, 2014? The proceeds of the sales surtax shall be used to fund health care services for Manatee County residents, including elderly persons and children, who are indigent or medically poor. Such services shall include primary and preventative care by physicians, clinics, hospitals, mental health centers and alternative delivery sites in a cost effective manner.

  Votes %
FOR the one-half cents tax  15,280  39.18%
AGAINST the one-half cents tax  23,710  60.81%



Shall the Board of County Commissioners of this County be authorized to grant, pursuant to Section 3, Article VII of the State Constitution, property tax exemptions to new businesses and expansions of existing businesses that are expected to create new, full-time jobs in the county?

  Votes %
YES - For authority to grant exemptions  20,396  52.53%
NO - Against authority to grant exemptions  18,424  47.46%