Group Pushing for Oversight Committee on Proposed Healthcare Program

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A group pushing for a half-cent sales tax for health care in Leon County is now pushing for an independent oversight committee to direct how those dollars will be spent. Leon County voters will decide in November whether to increase their sales tax to eight percent, making it one of the highest in the state.

The County estimates the half-cent increase would generate about $18 million each year to support a health care program for the uninsured.

Tallahassee Equality Action Ministries, or TEAM, is proposing a seven member board made up of government, health care and business leaders to administer the program.

TEAM members say they got to work on the proposal three months ago when the County voted to put the issue on the November ballot and say they feel the proposal will address the top two concerns in the community: how the tax dollars will be spent and how the plan will be administered.

Rabbi Jack Romberg, co-chair of TEAM, said, "It will have some independent authority from either of the commissions, in other words, have the ability to do some things on its own. It will have the authority to really oversee the budget to make sure the plan is operating the way it should operate."

Romberg says TEAM's proposal will also give the county the opportunity to send the issue back to voters in three years if the Oversight Committee decides the plan is not working.

TEAM will present the proposal to the city and county commissions this month.