Greenlight campaign posts eye-opening $427K fundraising report

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Friends of Greenlight, the independent political committee for the Greenlight Pinellas initiative, posted huge fundraising numbers for last month, with more than $427,000 collected in April.

According to financial reports posted Monday, the PAC raised $427,390, with another $11,388 of in-kind donations, spending $30,826. The organization raised $493,740 to date.

Thirty-seven donations came to the committee from April 1-30 — led by a $245,000 check from the National Association of Realtors based in Chicago. Raymond James Financial and Sykes Enterprises each gave $50,000.

Last month, the Tampa Bay Rays and BayCare Health System each chipped in $25,000; utility giant TECO Energy donated $20,000 and the Tampa-based Carlton Fields Jorden Burt legal firm gave $10,000.

Advocacy group Tampa Bay Partnership contributed administrative services worth $11,388.

Friends of Greenlight PAC leads the effort to convince voters to approve a key provision of November’s Greenlight Pinellas initiative, a one-cent sales tax for expanded public transit countywide. The new tax, up from seven to eight percent, would replace the current ad valorem property transit tax.

If approved, the Greenlight Pinellas increases the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority operating budget to $130 million, which will be used to boost bus service nearly 65 percent. Proposed changes include express bus lanes and a grid system for improved wait times.

Supporters say the improvements will have riders not waiting any more than 15 minutes for a bus.

In the most debated part of the plan, the PSTA would start construction on a 24-mile light rail corridor from St. Petersburg to Clearwater Beach.

Opponents of Greenlight Pinellas — led by a group called No Tax For Tracks – raised $4,735 in April, for a total of $ 30,131.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.