Staff Writer, Tampa Bay Times
Bill Varian writes about Hillsborough County government and politics. He joined the Times in 1999 as a crime reporter in Citrus County after five years of writing about growth-related issues and city hall for the Tallahassee Democrat. A 1990 graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va., he also has worked at newspapers in Augusta, Ga., and Burlington, N.C.
The latest Truth-O-Meter items from Bill Varian
The property appraiser's budget "is $1 million less today than when I took office 16 years ago."
The sales tax increase, if approved, will cost taxpayers "up to $300 million per year, in perpetuity, to finance a rail system for the City of Tampa."
Property taxes "are now 18% higher than when (Mark Sharpe) first took office."
"Mark Sharpe has lowered property taxes by 17 percent."
If voters agree in November to approve a one-cent sales tax increase, that will give "Hillsborough County the highest sales tax of all Florida counties."