Half Cent Sales Tax for Health Care

It's estimated more than 20,000 Leon County residents have no health insurance, including working families and students.

Leon County voters will decide in November whether to support a health care program to provide the care they need.

The language voters will see:
Shall a half cent sales surtax be levied for 15 years starting on January 1, 2007, and ending on December 31, 2021, to provide a broad range of health care services to indigent and medically poor Leon County residents by creating a comprehensive health care program offering innovative care and health education services?"

William Phelan with Tallahassee Equality Action Ministries, the group that pushed for the tax, says that language is misleading.

"It doesn't really specify what the plan is in terms of innovative care. I'm not sure what that means as well, as well as education, while the focus of the plan is primarily health care, including preventative health care," says Phelan.

In a 3-2 vote, commissioners allocated up to $150,000 for a public information campaign to clarify any misunderstandings.

Bob Rackleff of the Leon County Commission says, "Our priority is that we want people to understand what this program is and we believe that once they do that they will be able to support it and vote it in."

If approved, Leon County will have one of the highest sales taxes in the state. It's expected to generate as much as $18 million each year.

The program is to include primary health care, preventive screening, basic dental care and health education.