Mary Ann Hutton

Welcome! You’ve found my site where I share weekly reports about the state of our area and our great state of Florida. Thanks, for stopping by. I hope you find my posts informative.

– Mary Ann

My Most Recent Column

The Additional 5 Cents Gas Tax is Not Being Collected By Jackson County

Annually in November, The Florida Department of Revenue issues a Tax Information Publication. The publication provides information regarding tax increases and tax rates on fuel products in Florida. The publication also provides a link for a list of local options and ninth-cent rates by county. The Motor Fuel Tax charts are available for review at the Florida Department of Revenue’s (Department) website at floridarevenue.com/taxes/rates. These current 2024 charts became effective January 1, 2024, and all locally approved and DOR-implemented taxation began collection at that time.

After a review of the charts, Jackson County’s newly commissioned approved additional local option tax of 5 cents was not included on the chart. Jackson County is showing $0.00 for additional local option fuel tax on the charts. You might ask how could this be? The January 2024 publication of the Local Government Financial Information Handbook provided by The Florida Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research linked on the Department of Revenue website states “a certified copy of the ordinance proposing the levy of the ninth-cent fuel tax pursuant to referendum must be furnished to the DOR by the county within 10 days after the ordinance’s approval; however, the failure to furnish the certified copy does not invalidate the ordinance’s passage. Within 10 days after the referendum passage, the county notifies the DOR of the referendum’s passage and the time period during which the tax will be levied. A county levying this tax pursuant to the ordinance notifies the DOR within 10 days after the ordinance’s adoption, and the county furnishes the DOR with a certified copy of the ordinance. By October 1st of each year, the county must notify the DOR of the respective tax rates for both the 1 to 6 cents and 1 to 5 cents fuel taxes and of its decision to rescind or change the rate of either tax” (per Florida Statutes 336.021(5), 336.025(1)(a)1. and (b)1., F.S.

Based upon the information provided above the notification to DOR must not have been made. The notification does not invalidate the levied tax but does delay collection. It could possibly begin in January 2025 assuming that DOR has been notified and all proper paperwork submitted for the collection and distribution of the taxes.

With the inability to collect this tax, the Jackson County budget will again be in a deficit position as the Final Budget 2023-2024 included Local Op Gas Tax – 2nd Local Option Fuel Tax (5 Cents) of $750,000 as anticipated revenues. Major county budget deficits have existed here since 2021. The American Rescue Plan Act monies provided over $685,000 for the fiscal year budget of 2021-2022 and provided another $1,500,000+ for the fiscal year budget of 2022-2023. Now it looks like we are facing yet another budget deficit crisis.

We can all start to point fingers as to who failed to oversee that the tax would be implemented and collected. However, leadership and responsibility begin at the top and Florida Statutes 125 County Commissioners: Powers And Duties. Section r) defines one of the County Commissioner’s duties as levy and collect taxes.

At this point, you would think that the commission would embrace the infamous attitude of “The Buck Stops Here” taking full responsibility for the epic failure to implement tax collection. Also, you would think the commission would disclose to the citizens the oversight in the procedural process to collect the additional voted 5-cent gas tax. There has been no public announcement informing the citizens that a breach of duty occurred, nor has there been any information to inform the citizens when the collection at the pump will begin. During these skyrocketing inflationary times it is very important for the citizens to know when they will be responsible for paying an additional gas tax at the pump.

The error and non-disclosure are very concerning as to who is overseeing the regulations and taxation that are being imposed on us, the citizens of our community.  I hope you will remember this in August and November 2024 when you vote. Please vote for the candidates that put you the citizens of this great community first.

I promised to bring you The Straight Truth and I will leave you with those thoughts and that concludes this week’s The Straight Truth With Mary Ann Hutton.

2024 State Taxes, Inspection Fee, Ninth-Cent, Local Option, Additional Local Option and SCETS Motor Fuel Taxes

Our County has known about this as our county has had no Additional Local Option revenue in Jan-Feb 2024 of this year from the FL Dept. of Revenue.

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