With Scott veto of tax swap plan, PSTA gets its comeuppance

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I told you so.

I told you, Don Crane. You didn’t want to listen, Herb Polson.

I told you. I told you. I told you.

Last year, when PSTA decided to hire Orlando-based Gray Robinson, rather than a local firm, as its lobbyist, I (and several others) warned that the decision would come back to bite them in the ass.

Well, as of Friday…chomp!

On Friday, Gov. Scott vetoed legislation that would have guaranteed a “tax swap” by requiring the repeal of the PSTA property tax if voters approve the sales tax increase and the money is used for the project.

Scott vetoed HB 865 late Friday and wrote that he feared the legislation might be used by transit supporters to help pass the voter referendum.

And who lobbied Scott to veto the bill? The local legislators who have complained from Day One about PSTA’s interaction (read Gray Robinson’s lobbying efforts) with them.

Like I said, I told you this was going to happen.

PSTA just does not understand the world of hurt it is in for this next year.  Listening to board members like Crane and Polson, two dinosaurs who first entered politics when rail was invented, has put the organization on a collision course with reality.

The organization’s plan to build a 24-mile light rail system between Clearwater and St. Petersburg IS NEVER GOING TO PASS.  Never. Let me repeat, NEVER!

Why won’t it pass?  Because no one (and when I say no one, I don’t mean just a few people, I actually mean no one) is going to get in their car, drive to rail depot in central St. Pete, take light rail to Clearwater and get dumped in the middle of that city without their car.

I don’t care what the Tampa Bay Times editorial board thinks and it won’t matter how much money PSTA pays Tucker Hall, voters will overwhelmingly reject a tax increase for PSTA’s shiny new toy.

I’m telling you all this now, just like I said PSTA would take it on the chin this legislative session.

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.