Penny for Pinellas

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Since its inception in 1990, the Penny for Pinellas tax has provided nearly $21 million for roadway improvements, and more than $2 million to make sidewalks more pedestrian friendly in Clearwater. The one-percent sales tax has also played a major role in helping fund neighborhood and citywide infrastructure improvements, public safety, helping purchase vehicles and apparatus for Clearwater’s police and fire departments. Beach Walk, four fire stations, the Memorial Causeway Bridge, the Bayside Bridge and more have also been funded by Penny for Pinellas dollars. In November 2017, Pinellas County voters will get a chance to vote whether to extend Penny for Pinellas for a fourth time.

The Penny for Pinellas tax is a one-percent sales tax surcharge on taxable commodities sold in Pinellas County, dedicated to capital improvement projects such as roads, bridges, stormwater improvements, facilities, public safety, parks and more. These improvements help enhance the quality of life not only in Pinellas County, but right here in Clearwater. Criminal courts and jail facilities receive 10 percent of the funds, which help make up the 52 percent that goes to the county. The other 48 percent goes to the county’s 24 municipalities. Since Penny for Pinellas is a sales tax, approximately one-third of Penny for Pinellas funds is paid for by tourists and seasonal residents. 

Penny for Pinellas Facts:

  • 1989 – “Penny for Pinellas” 1-percent sales tax (discretionary sales surtax) was approved at a countywide referendum for ten-year period. (Half of money is used for County projects and the remainder is divided among the municipalities within Pinellas County)
  • Spring 1997 – Voters approved extension of “Penny for Pinellas” tax for second 10-year period ending in 2010
  • More than 35% of funds come from tourists, seasonal residents and non-property owners
  • Groceries and medicines NOT taxed
  • Only first $5,000 of every single purchase (such as automobile) is taxed
  • Dedicated to capital improvement projects, roads, bridges, public safety and parks/recreation
  • Makes capital improvement projects necessary without having to raise property taxes
  • Generated approximately $826 million between 1990-2000
  • Generated approximately $1.26 billion for county between 2000-2010
  • Estimated to generate $1.5 billion for county between 2010-2020

Some Clearwater Projects Funded by Penny for Pinellas:

  • Memorial Causeway Bridge
  • Bayside Bridge
  • Main Library
  • Pinellas Trail
  • Ruth Eckerd Hall improvements
  • Bright House Stadium
  • Sand Key Fire Station
  • Countryside Recreation Center
  • Ross Norton Complex
  • North Greenwood Recreation and Aquatics Center
  • Clearwater Beach Recreation Complex
  • Pier 60
  • Pier 60 Park
  • Reconstruction of Main Fire Station
  • Downtown Streetscaping
  • Morningside Recreation Center
  • Long Center infrastructure improvements