On February 25, 2021, the Florida Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision declaring the Hillsborough County Transportation Tax completely unconstitutional. The County began to collect the 30-year, 1% tax on January 1, 2019. The County Commission had played no role in creating this tax, which had been placed on the ballot by All for Transportation as a citizen’s initiative.
County Commissioner Stacy White maintained the tax was unconstitutional because it conflicted with the state law that authorizes such taxes. Banker Lopez Gassler was proud to represent him in the trial court, where the court agreed that many parts of the tax were unconstitutional, but it ruled the tax could still be collected.
The firm’s appellate team, led by Chris Altenbernd, appealed the ruling for Commissioner White to the Florida Supreme Court. Because the Court agreed with Commissioner White that the tax was entirely unconstitutional, the County will no longer be able to collect this local sales tax. Exactly what happens to the hundreds of millions of dollars already collected remains to be determined.