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Pinellas County Commissioner Kenneth Welch and USF St. Petersburg Professor of Government Studies Darryl Paulson debated whether or not the Penny For Pinellas should be renewed this coming Tuesday. Pinellas voters will decide next week whether the extra penny sales tax should be renewed for a third decade. The penny tax was originally instituted in 1987 as a temporary tax and it's been used to fund a lot of infrastructure in Pinellas such as the Bayside Bridge, the Pinellas trail, jail expansion, parks and roads. Paulson, an opponent of renewing the tax, said it's simply a source of pork for politicians, it's regressive and governments need to cut the fat from their budgets. Commissioner Welch said the tax has vastly improved Pinellas' ability to build and improve infrastructure, the tax is paid in large part (one third) by out of town visitors and that unfunded manadates from the state government (such as the need for more jail beds) are funded by the penny tax.

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