What is the Walton Referendum?
The Walton County Referendum is a proposal that WE THE PEOPLE get to vote for and if successful will help the citizens throughout the county with this little problem we all know too well called… traffic. But not just everyday road traffic – It will also help put sidewalks and pathways throughout the county, fix potholes, enhance public transportation, complete intersection upgrades, and generally improve our transportation challenges in Walton County.
The Language on the Ballot
Is There a List of Roads and/or Projects For Walton County To Complete?
ABSOLUTELY! Walton County is always working on the problem of how to improve roads so of course they have identified opportunities to improve this wonderful place we call home.
These OVERVIEW images are from the 2040 County Mobility Plan from September of 2021. And they are part of a larger document called the Identified Transportation Projects (Click Here To View).
Remember the implementation of these projects will be allowed future input and the citizens will be able to help prioritize and approve/deny individual projects through regular participation. Stay Involved!
UPDATED LIST – 10/3/22
We attended the Transportation Advisory Committee on the evening of 10/3/22 in Defuniak Springs FL.
The TAC approved a very informative list of projects with timelines and dollar amounts attached.
This is list is the recommendation of projects for the Board of County Commissioners to consider if the Walton Referendum passes. This list below is better for an understanding if you’re looking for timelines. This list does not take away from the Mobility Plan but is rather born from the Mobility Plan for actual implementation purposes.
The motion to approve this Draft was approved unanimously.
Can the tax be used for anything?
NO! it’s strictly limited to TRANSPORTATION by FL Statute 212.055(1)
Is There A Walton County Ordinances Related To The Referendum?
YES! The following ordinance is to be filed with the State within 10 days by the Clerk of the Board of County Commissioners should the referendum pass.
Will The Proceeds, Projects, Obligations, And All Other Aspects Be Audited?
YES! By and Independent Auditor Each Year per the County Ordinance that compliments the referendum.
Sales Surtax – The Fairest Of Them All
Sales taxes allow people earning income on side jobs, under the table, maybe even illegally to contribute to society.
If taxes are something you’ve paid attention to as a political point of interest for a while, then you’ve probably even heard of the “fair tax” – dump the income tax and adopt a sales tax so everyone contributes equally!
Florida Sales Taxes are even Fairer!
Did you know some states actually charge tax on groceries – talk about NOT FAIR!
We can be thankful that we DO NOT pay taxes on groceries.
Check out all of the items we do not have to pay sales taxes on! Groceries, Common Household Remedies, Medical Devices, Infant Supplies, and more!
And check out the tax holidays! This upcoming gas holi-month of October is going to be awesome!
Another fun fact is the taxation on BIG Ticket items, for example, a car, you only pay the surtax on the first $20,000 – and let’s face it we only have a couple of choices in Walton County for a new car so you’re probably going to Bay or Okaloosa and well… you’ll just pay their surtaxes that they have enacted so they can grow better!
Alaska Has Oil, Walton Has Tourists
You ever meet someone from Alaska that doesn’t want to get rid of their license plate? If you have then you’ve probably heard about the awesome story, they go onto tell you about getting a check each year from the oil industry.
Now tourists don’t write each of us a check each year, but they match our spending on this referendum $2 for every $1 a local contributes. And frankly we feel it right that Tourists contribute to making roads better.
Estimated Annual Revenue from a 1 Cent Sales Tax is $26,000,000! (We’re still working to verify this. We’ve heard estimates as high as $36,000,000 and feel this is the more conservative estimate, we’ve run across – will update the article when verified) And of that $26,000,000 – Tourists are putting in 67%. That means for every $1 in tax we spend as locals we get matched by tourists with $2 more dollars. That’s better than buying a scratch off ticket if you ask me. We’re basically winning every single time we spend a $1.
Tourists are our oil. They fuel our economy. They pay for our beach accesses, our lifeguards, beach safety, and more.
Why not have them pay for the roads? I mean seriously without tourists do we really have a traffic problem? My wife isn’t from around here and her first off season here she said she didn’t want to drive to Target (in Destin) alone anymore at night because there are so few cars on the road it’s creepy.
The Walton Referendum allows us to “tap” tourism so that they pay for our roads twice as much as we do. So, unless you have another way to have tourists help pay this idea is sounding really good.
How much will I have to Pay?
This is a really important question but it’s not too hard to figure out. We ran through the exercise for our household, and we estimate our monthly additional spend to be about $3 to $5 a month.
Now I will admit as I walked through this with my wife the question of, “are we going on date nights enough?” did come up so I may be paying an extra $1 or so every once in a while, when I get the hint, I’m supposed to take her out. Anyone else have this issue?
There are a few studies out there for “Average Spending of a Family” here is an example of spending per month that would be taxed;
|Expense||Monthly Spend||Monthly Referendum Cost|
|Apparel & Services||$119.00||$1.19|
|Personal Care Products & Services||$53.00||$0.53|
There may be some tightening to do here on this math but overall, it’s just meant to represent a common example.
Against The Referendum?
Do you agree we have a transportation and traffic problem?
If the answer is no – fine. Can we interview you so we can gain perspectives on your unique lifestyle that allows you to enjoy such a state of mind?
If the answer is yes – then what’s your solution?
Beware of the Misinformation on Social Media
This article was directly inspired by the gross misinformation observed on social media. Don’t be fooled by a MEME with not citation.
Remember if there isn’t data to back up a MEME it’s probably not good to rely on it.
We hope you appreciate all of the information provided in this blog to allow you to become a better-informed citizen of Wonderful Walton County.
You may contribute to the evolution of this post by submitting questions or expressing your opinion.
We strongly believe that as a community we can achieve a great future please feel free to help us succeed.