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Tampa Chamber releases preliminary poll numbers on Go Hillsborough that don’t say too much

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Three weeks before the Hillsborough County Commission is scheduled to vote on putting the half-cent Go Hillsborough transportation tax on the ballot, extremely preliminary results from a poll conducted for the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce were released on Thursday.

And they don’t really do much to clear up where the voters stand on the issue.

The Chamber reports that support for the sales tax was “raised at four different points in the overall survey, with answers of support ranging from 47% to 54%.”

Without any questions provided, though, that doesn’t tell the public much of anything regarding the measure’s chances of success in November.

Chamber spokesperson Felicia Harvey says that more information regarding the methodology of the poll (conducted by SEA Polling & Strategic Designs) will be released to the public, but only after those results are shared among Chamber board members.

“We did this poll for us mainly for us to figure out what we wanted to do next when it comes to transportation,” Harvey said.

The Chamber has not come out in support of the proposed half-cent measure, nor have any other business groups to date. Then again, it’s only a concept right now, with the Board of County Commissioners scheduled on whether or not to put it on the ballot on April 27.

Victor Crist, considered the swing vote on the board, has been quoted as saying that he wanted to see where public opinion was on the issue as part of his decision making process.

The measure has been steeped in controversy for months, and only recently emerged out from under a months long investigation by the Hillsborough County Sheriffs Department. The department was investigating the awarding of a $1.35 million consulting contract to engineering firm Parsons Brinckerhoff. The Sheriffs Office found no criminal wrongdoing or improper influence.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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