On Nov. 8, 2022, Sarasota County residents will decide whether to extend the penny sales tax that has been in place since 1989.

How the penny tax works

Under Florida state law, counties may impose a discretionary sales surtax to invest in local community improvements. It must be approved by a majority of voters in a referendum. In three successive referendums, Sarasota County voters have authorized a 1% sales surtax, on top of the 6% state sales tax, to invest in capital improvement projects for the county, School Board and municipalities.

This 1%, or penny sales tax, only applies to the first $5,000* of any purchase that is subject to the state sales tax (maximum of $50).

One-quarter of the revenue is allocated to the School Board. The remaining 75% is distributed among the county and the municipalities based on population.

Proceeds may only be used to invest in public projects such as public safety, the environment, water quality, libraries, parks, schools and roads; they may not be used to pay for general operating expenses.