Urging Voters to Continue Leon County's Half-Penny Sales Tax

Information below provided by Ron Sachs Communications:

TALLAHASSEE – A new media blitz featuring an impressive lineup of Leon County’s influential and dedicated community leaders, as well as some of its most eager learners, is urging voters to keep the half-penny sales tax to sustain excellence in Leon County Schools.

In a series of effective television and radio ads, the civic leaders, educators and students encourage Leon County voters to keep the half-penny tax, which has provided an indispensable boost to local schools for the past 10 years. The ads for the Leon Alliance for Better County Schools (Leon ABCs) remind voters of the important contributions made possible by the half-penny and the overwhelming need for it to continue.

“Leon County residents have every right to be proud of our schools, and continuing the half-penny is the best way to ensure that the quality remains in place,” said Steve Uhlfelder, chairman of the Leon ABCs campaign. “The half-penny will be the last item on a very long election ballot, so these ads must remind people that they can’t afford to overlook the future of our schools.”

The half-penny sales tax approved by voters in 2002 has provided $175 million for necessary improvements at every school in the county. If voters agree to extend the levy, the projected $256.9 million it would provide over the next 15 years will support a wide variety of public school renovations and improvements, including construction, renovation, remodeling, and technology upgrades.

“Even though it’s at the end of the ballot, the half-penny sales tax will be one of the most important things Leon County will vote on,” said school Superintendent Jackie Pons. “These ads make it clear that the half-penny is tremendously important to our community and our children’s future.”

Speaking on behalf of Leon County’s business community, Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce Chairman Bill Moor added, “Everyone in our community has a stake in the quality of our schools, whether they are parents of young students or businesses wanting well-trained workers. We know this tax is essential to keeping our schools competitive, and that’s why the business community is solidly behind it.”

Leon ABCs has raised some $120,000 to support the campaign, the bulk of which will be dedicated to broadcast time. The advertising campaign includes four television ads and three radio spots. Two of the TV ads feature prominent community leaders voicing their support for the half-penny, while the other two feature educators and school children discussing the importance of the tax to their future.

Community leaders speaking out in the ads are Uhlfelder; Moor, who is chairman of Capital City Banc Investments; Harriett Williams, vice chair of Leon ABCs; County Commissioner Bryan Desloge; City Commissioner Andrew Gillum; Sue Dick, Chamber president; and Adam Corey, a governmental affairs consultant with Gunster Law Firm. Griffin Middle School Principal Gwendolyn Thomas appears in an ad with school children.

The ads were produced by Ron Sachs Communications, which is donating its services to the Leon ABCs campaign, in conjunction with Charles Belvin Productions. The ads will play for two weeks immediately and then return to the airwaves during the final stretch leading to Election Day November 6.

“Nothing is more important to this community than educating our children, and that’s why we are proud to provide services to this tremendously important campaign,” said firm President and CEO Ron Sachs. “We believe once voters understand what the half-penny will be used for, they will support it. “

To learn more about the Leon ABCs campaign or to make an online contribution, go to www.LeonABCs.com.

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