The City of Tallahassee is outlining a list of questions about Leon County's proposed Comprehensive Health Care Plan and a half cent sales tax to support it. City leaders had expressed concern that they were not kept more informed, so the city has put its questions in writing, sending it over to the county for answers.
Parwez Alam, Leon County Administrator, said, "My immediate response is that I'm really happy that the City has at least now provided us with the some questions and for us to respond... and I understand where the City is coming from."
Alam says he will respond to Tallahassee's letter on Wednesday.
The questions include:
-How will the 18 million generated by this proposed half cent sales tax increase be spent, and why does the proposed ordinance not address specific expenditures?
-This half-cent sales tax is the last available option for this community to generate revenue from a sales tax. Has the county considered other health related issues that may require future funding that may compete with this proposal, and if so, has the county determined indigent health care to be the community's highest priority?
-There are obviously pros and cons to any initiative. Has the County considered what the ultimate (best case/worse case scenario) financial/economic impact will be to the community of implementing this tax increase? For example-how will implementing this additional half cent impact business stability or future business relocation to Tallahassee?
-Who will manage and operate the payment system proposed? More specifically, who will establish or confirm an individual’s eligibility to receive services and what entity will be charged with managing paperwork for payment processing? Will the county include in the ballot language a requirement to provide an annual report to the public on expenditures related to this initiative?
-What is the county's intent regarding the existing MSTU for indigent health services, if the proposed sales tax increase is approved?
-Could the sales tax plan pick up existing health related programs currently paid for by CHSP, thus having the potential to increase general resources for social services as part of the CHSP process?
-Have the two local hospitals confirmed their intent to support the plan?
-What possibilities exist, if any, that allow this plan to complement the planned FSU medical school? Is funding in the proposed plan specifically designated to enhance, complement or coordinate with the medical school?
-Does the plan propose to supplant funding generally allocated by the county to the County Public Health Department?
-What can be done, if anything, about the fact that under the current proposal many working but indigent individuals will be excluded from eligibility if their place of employment offers health insurance, yet they cannot afford due to low wages, to purchase it? (The concern is that this structure does not provide incentive to remain employed.)