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Old 12-10-2007, 12:53 PM   #1
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Default Florida Homeowners Tax update Vote "YES" Jan 29th

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Property Tax Update: December 7, 2007<P align=center>Property Tax Update: December 7, 2007

Editorial: 60 percent needed for tax relief


Something is better than nothing. January?s referendum is a step in the right direction but reform still needed.

Fort Myers News-Press
December 7, 2007

Sixty is the magic number.

That is, 60 percent of voters must vote for the property tax relief referendum in order for it to become law.

Remember 60 ? a percentage which could include you.

The proposed constitutional amendment would:

? Allow people to take their Save Our Homes protection if they move.

? Increase the homestead exemption by $25,000.

? Give businesses a tax break.

Cap increases to 10 percent on assessments on non-homesteaded properties, such as businesses, second homes and investments.

The Editorial Board has met so far with six of our eight Lee County legislative delegation members.

So far, we?ve not heard too much enthusiasm over the proposal except that it?s something as opposed to nothing.

And an average $160 or $231 in your pocket ? depending on the Lee County Property Appraiser?s Office?s versus the House of Representatives? figures ? is not in the government?s hands, but in the people?s hands.

We are delighted by the consensus that there is still much work to be done.

If the proposal passes ? and it is, understand, tax relief not tax reform ? the work on reform will continue.

If it fails, our legislators say, the work will continue.

It must.

This reform process will take baby steps because of the nature of politics, which involves compromises, egos, constituent interests, and the like.

Better to act on Jan. 29 and reap a meager reward than receive nothing and have to wait for the next voting opportunity in November.

We cannot change our property tax system except through a constitutional amendment.

Throughout our learning of the property tax system, we have encountered so many cases where previous actions caused unintended consequences.

The passage in 1992 of the Save Our Homes amendment limits for full-time homeowners their annual assessment increases to 3 percent or the cost of living, whichever is lower.

This has created a greater ? really, disproportionate ? burden for businesses, second-home owners, winter residents and investors.

When legislators in 2006 backed a successful constitutional amendment which increased the threshold of passing future amendments from 50 percent to 60 percent, they made their work on tax reform so much harder.

We believe it is in Floridians? interests to start the ball rolling and accept this flawed, but practical, approach toward tax reform.

Vote "Yes" on Jan. 29.

Then, insist that your legislators continue to work. <P align=center>

Crist joins with Trump to raise money for property tax amendment


By BRENDAN FARRINGTON Bradenton Herald December 6, 2007 8:00 p.m. (Captured December 7, 2007)

Associated Press Writer

Donald Trump, who pays $1 million a year on a single Palm Beach County mansion, helped Gov. Charlie Crist raise money Thursday for a ballot question that could cap all property taxes while providing cuts for most homeowners.

"The press just told me I pay over $1 million a year on one house in real estate taxes in Florida. I didn't even know. I said, 'Really? I pay that much?'" Trump told a crowd of about 40 while standing next to Crist in a Trump Tower office. "Hopefully that sucker will come down a little bit."

Crist personally won't see any immediate savings if the property tax cut on next month's presidential primary ballot is passed. The political value, though, is worth more than the $240 he'd get to keep if he owned a home.

Crist rents a downtown St. Petersburg condominium and, of course, he has use of a mansion near the Capitol. But for months on the campaign trail he promised to reduce property taxes and has made the issue one of his highest priorities since taking office in January.

That's why the governor will be making a huge push to get support for the Jan. 29 ballot question that would double the homestead exemption and place a 10 percent assessment cap on all properties.

But some of Crist's fellow Republicans say the average estimated saving of $240 a year per homeowner is too little. And cities, counties and the state's largest teachers union argue that the measure will mean cuts in services and hurt schools.

"When you have to go up to New York and do a fundraiser with Donald Trump to finance a campaign down here, it may be a signal about who benefits the most," said Mark Pudlow, a spokesman for the Florida Education Association.

Organizers would not say how much the event raised, but the cost to attend was $1,000 and larger checks were expected during and after the fundraiser.

The proposed amendment would double exemptions on primary homes to $50,000. It would also cap assessments on other properties - businesses, rentals and second homes like Trump's Palm Beach mansion, which is appraised at $58 million.

In 2005, the assessed value of Trump's mansion was $41.4 million. It jumped to $56 million the next year, or a 35 percent increase. Had the cap been in place, his tax would have been based on a $45.5 million assessment in 2006.

Instead, his taxes increased from nearly $796,000 in 2005 to more than $1.03 million the next year, an amount that would have been lower had the cap lowered his assessment.

"It's substantial taxes, and under the new plan that will come down, but more importantly it will come down for people who really need help," Trump said.

The amendment will also let homeowners take at least part of the benefits they get from the existing 3 percent assessment cap on primary homes when they move. And it would give businesses a $25,000 exemption for equipment and other property.

Crist emphasized the "portability" aspect of the bill, saying it will help people who feel trapped in their homes because taxes on a new property would be too high.

"If your a young family and you want to go into a home that's larger so you can raise more children, you might be able to afford the dwelling but you don't do it because you lose that 3 percent cap. Portability is huge in this thing," Crist said.

With a recently enacted requirement that 60 percent of voters approve ballot questions instead of a majority, it will be that much more difficult to pass the amendment.

Business interests will be pumping money into the effort to reach voters, many of whom are unfamiliar with the details of the proposal.

The Florida Association of Realtors has already donated $1 million, and the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Florida are also backing it.

At least one group that has been pushing for even more cuts and a 1.25 percent cap on property assessments is also raising money to try to pass the amendment, even though they aren't entirely happy with it.

"The biggest issue that we have right now is that they don't think this goes far enough," said Brett Doster, a political consultant that is working with Floridians for Property Tax Reform.

But the measure is a start and better than no relief, said Doster.

"There's widespread belief that the leadership in the state of Florida let us down and we need to come back for some more," he said.

The teachers union is considering banding with other groups, such as the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, to fight back against the banks, developers and real estate agents who will be contributing to a television ad campaign.

But they realize that they will probably be outspent.

"We're not going to go toe-to-toe with the business interests in a TV ad campaign," Pudlow said.

Instead, the groups will try to educate their members and encourage them to talk to friends, family and neighbors about the amendment.

The groups also recognize that they might have to save resources for future property tax fights, with proposals to put larger cuts and smaller caps on the November ballot.

"The quest for resources is potentially a major problem," he said. "Frankly we don't think this is going to be the last thing we have to concern ourselves with in 2008."<P align=center>

Editorial: Governor's unseemly fundraising


A St. Petersburg Times Editorial Published December 6, 2007

Gov. Charlie Crist says he will "campaign like the dickens" for the property tax amendment on next month's ballot, and his passion is to be admired. But the governor can't play the populist as he collects $1,000 checks in New York City and $1-million checks from Florida business interests. That is what is more commonly known as a political shakedown, and Crist should be above it.

The fight for and against Amendment 1 on Jan. 29 will no doubt be played out on the airwaves, where money is an essential ingredient to success. But Crist holds enormous regulatory power and influence over the businesses he is asking to pony up money. He puts himself in the same untenable position as that of House Speaker Marco Rubio. The speaker also is raising money for a ballot initiative on taxes, calling on lobbyists who will need his support for their bills to be heard in the spring. Both efforts look unseemly.

This is not to argue that Crist should remain silent. He speaks already from the state's biggest bully pulpit, and he can use that to great advantage in a cause that is important to him. He feels at home as he travels the state, and people tend to respond well to his personal style.

The complication here is the money. Crist already has loaned deputy chief of staff Arlene DiBenigno to the "Yes on 1" campaign, the Florida Republican Party has extensive resources to help, and the Florida Association of Realtors has thrown $1-million into the pot. That puts the campaign off to a running start, and the rest of the money needs to be raised by those who aren't in public office and positioned to grant favors or access to contributors.

Crist is pushing for Amendment 1 in part because he argues it will help homeowners who can't afford higher taxes when they move. But his claim to speak for the people is undermined when he flies to the Trump Tower to pocket thousands of dollars from New York business people or meets one-on-one with Florida lobbyists who feel pressure to oblige. Why would New York investors care about homestead taxes in Florida?

The same governor who stripped down his own inaugural celebration to avoid the image of elitism is now twisting arms in the world of big business. If he wants voters to approve property tax breaks, he would be better off finding a way to keep public schools from being hurt in the process. That might convince the people he is on their side.<P align=center>

Editorial: State lawmakers can't stop tinkering with tax system


By RON LITTLEPAGE

The Florida Times-Union December 7, 2007

Ideas for slashing the amount of taxes local governments can collect are coming fast and furious.

First up is the constitutional amendment the Legislature tacked onto the Jan. 29 presidential ballot.

If 60 percent of the voters approve it, the homestead exemption for city and county government tax rolls would be doubled to $50,000 and homeowners would be able to take their Save Our Homes savings with them if they move to a new homestead.

Portability is the holy grail for long-time homeowners who pay next to nothing in property taxes and want to keep it that way.

The problem is that portability only exacerbates the mess that Save Our Homes created by unfairly shifting the tax burden to renters, commercial business owners and new home buyers.

If you don't like the Jan. 29 option, how about this one? House Speaker Marco Rubio is pushing another proposed amendment, even though he signed off on the one the Legislature passed.

Rubio says that amendment doesn't do enough. He wants to cap the amount of property taxes on any property at 1.35 percent of the property's value.

Rubio used to favor doing away with property taxes and replacing the revenue by increasing the state's sales tax from 6 percent to 8.5 percent.

That's probably still his top choice.

A tax revision commission that can put amendments directly on the ballot without asking the Legislature, which previously nixed Rubio's tax swap idea, is now meeting. Who knows what it will come up with?

So why not throw another idea into the mix?

A legitimate argument can be made that the current tax system puts too much of a burden on property owners.

An argument also can be made that the public schools are the responsibility of the state.

No matter where a student lives in Florida, whether in a poor county or rich county, the educational opportunity should be the same.

However, one local government, at the behest of its citizens, should be able to decide if it wants to invest in its parks, for example, while another may not.

But public education should be the same across the board. If you agree with that premise, then it would make sense for the state to fully fund public education.

Piggybacking on Rubio's idea, that could be accomplished by doing away with local property taxes collected for local schools and replacing them with an increase in the state sales tax.

In Duval County, that would cut property tax bills almost in half.

One problem is that the sales tax is generally considered a regressive tax that places a disproportionate burden on low-income people.

But that could be solved by doing away with the hundreds of sales tax exemptions that generally benefit the well-to-do.

That would free up enough money so that the sales tax rate could probably be reduced and still produce enough money to fund the schools.

I don't think, say, having to begin paying a sales tax on a football stadium suite is going to impact the wallets of low-income people.

By taking this approach, property taxes would "drop like a rock," as Crist promised, and Rubio could declare victory and return to Miami.

Yes, please go home, and let locally elected officials raise the revenue required to meet the local needs of the people who elected them. <P align=center>

Opinion:Reducing state government spending


BY Representative Clay Ford Gulf Breeze News December 7, 2007

Earlier this year, Florida's economy began to cool. Large increases in property taxes and property insurance, along with other problems in the housing and credit sectors, have meant Floridians now have less to spend. So in homes and businesses across this state, Floridians are cutting back and spending less. Less long-term business investment, less trips to the mall and less weekend visits to Disney World means less sales tax revenue for the state.

This October, the Florida Legislature returned to Tallahassee to trim our budget, reduce government spending, and put our financial house in order. House Republicans in Tallahassee understand that when Floridians have less to spend, their government should spend less too. That's the common sense philosophy that guided us during the recent special session to reduce government spending.

In order to balance the state's budget and continue being fiscally responsible, we asked state government agencies to do exactly what we had asked already from local governments during the property tax debate: live within your means and don't spend more than Floridians can afford. </DIR></DIR><TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=2 width=931 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD>

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When your personal budget gets tight at home, you don't start by cutting your child's school supplies or skipping the utility payments, you prioritize. In Tallahassee, we did the same thing. Under our fiscally responsible approach, we prioritized our spending on the essentials: schools, safety, and savings.

House Republicans insisted on fiscal responsibility and reducing state spending to balance the budget, while Democrats proposed increasing taxes and reaching deeper into the pockets of Floridians for more when they can least afford it. Fortunately, our approach prevailed, and when all was said and done, Republicans in Tallahassee were able to reduce state government spending by $1.1 billion, while still preserving funding for schools, safety, and savings.

By targeting our spending, schools and students will still receive more funding this year than they did last year. In fact, K-12 per student education funding will increase by more than 5% over last year's funding. But as Republicans we know that it's not just how much you spend, but how you spend it.

Few states spend more on healthcare than Florida, so naturally, reducing our budget requires reductions in healthcare spending. Again, we achieved these spending reductions by prioritizing, maximizing efficiency, and squeezing more out of every tax dollar we spend. Ultimately, our approach ensured no direct cuts were made in the essential services Floridians depend on.

In order to achieve true economic recovery we must continue to reduce state spending while finding ways to reduce the tax burden that Floridians currently pay. That means reducing property taxes, diversifying our economy, and continuing to find ways to make Florida affordable again.

Suggestions and Public
Appearances

My staff and I welcome all suggestions and comments. Do not hesitate to contact my District Office to let us know of issues you are concerned about and would like us to address in this newsletter.

As my schedule allows, I am happy to speak at local community events or groups about issues of interest. My Legislative Assistant, Ray Walker, or my Secretary, Mary Katherine Peebles, will be happy to work with you in making such arrangements.

As always, please feel free to contact me or my staff with any of your needs or concerns. My district office is open Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The address is: 1804 West Garden St., Pensacola, FL, 32501. The phone number is 850-595-5550. <P align=center>

Property tax cut cost to be examined


By By Jim Ash Florida Capital Bureau Chief

Fort Myers News-Press
December 07, 2007

TALLAHASSEE ? Economic forecasters take another crack today at an official price tag for a property tax-cutting measure that will appear on the Jan. 29 ballot.

The Revenue Estimating Conference convenes at 1:30 p.m. today in the Knott Building adjacent to the Capitol.

State economists bogged down earlier this week when they disagreed over how to estimate the financial impact of various features of the proposal. Gov. Charlie Crist is championing the plan as a way to rescue a sluggish economy, but House Speaker Marco Rubio pans it as a disappointing compromise.

It would double the $25,000 homestead exemption for homes worth more than $50,000, allow homeowners to take their "Save Our Homes" savings with them when they move, give a 10 percent annual assessment cap to commercial and non-residential property and a $25,000 exemption on the "tangible personal property" taxes that businesses pay for things such as equipment.

Early estimates put the total savings at about $12 billion over five years, with the average homeowner reaping a $240 reward. The five-year hit to the education budget was estimated to be as much as $3 billion. <P align=center>

Guest Column: Rubio has it right on property taxes


By Dan Insdorf December 7, 2007 Winter Haven News Chief Columnist

Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio, backed by the Floridians for Property Tax Reform, has a petition to place a simple tax-cut proposal on the ballot. Gov. Charlie Crist's reworded initiative is too complicated and the tax cuts it might produce will be insignificant.

Rubio's proposal is basically one sentence long: "Provides that the total property tax on any parcel of real property shall never exceed 1.35 percent of the highest taxable value of the property." It retains Saves Our Homes, the homestead exemption and any other exemption. It is fair, impartial and does not discriminate against any particular governmental service. It creates a single pool of money from which cities and counties must decide how to apportion resources.

It is patently unfair to single out property owners for funding most governmental services. Businesses and private homes are an easy target for tax collectors, but they should not shoulder a disproportionate burden of local taxes. Our pathetic Florida public schools consume 40 percent of all real estate tax dollars with the majority of these taxes being paid by seniors who do not have children in schools. Another 25 percent of real estate taxes are consumed by city and county social services that cater to the low-income and criminal population produced by the public schools.

Instead of encouraging more retirees and vacation home owners to buy Florida properties, the Orange County tax collector, Bill Donegan, wants to go after out-of-state homeowners who claim the homestead exemption (an average $500 savings per home). If Donegan had any common sense, he would realize that nonresident homeowners and retirees have little or any impact on services. They do not have children in school, are not on welfare and usually don't commit crimes. It is shortsighted to scare these people out of living in Florida.

Lake County wants to raise school impact fees from $7,055 to $17,513. Instead of raising impact fees across the board, Lake should target only homes and apartments in nonretirement communities where young families tend to live and have children in public schools. This will reduce the need for more taxes. Today's young families do not pay their way. More than 50 percent of the entire Florida budget goes toward welfare and related nonproductive services. We are living in a welfare state.

Teacher and civil service unions are going to mount a scare campaign against any and all tax reform. Don't believe anything they say. Local government spending is as out of control as federal government spending. Government employees don't care about you or the general health of the economy. Civil "servants" seldom suffer job losses, even in the worst of times. A new federal tax law will force local governments to project the future cost of their retiree entitlement benefits. If you think local taxes are high now, just wait!

Your home will not burn down, crime will not increase and your garbage will be picked up if Rubio's tax proposal passes. I promise.

Support Rubio's fair and simple real estate tax cut proposal. Go to <U>www.cutpropertytaxesnow.com</U> and sign the petition. If you don't have a computer, call 866-897-1357 and I will send you a petition.<P align=center>

Sen. Saunders: Don't expect state to pass further property tax breaks

Bonita Daily News
By <U>ELIZABETH WRIGHT</U> December 6, 2007

Don?t expect Tallahassee to approve a new round of property tax rollbacks in the coming session.

Speaking to the Bonita Springs City Council on Wednesday night, State Sen. Burt Saunders said it?s unlikely that the Legislature will do more than talk about further property tax tweaks.

"I don?t believe there will be much appetite in the Florida legislature to do anything additional," said Saunders, R-Naples. "I think the Legislature will stand down this coming year."

For local governments, that means no new cuts being forced on their budgets ? something some Bonita Springs officials have worried about.

At a local legislative delegation meeting last week Mayor Jay Arend praised the city?s relatively low millage rate, and asked state legislators not to treat every city the same if more rollbacks were required.

Saunders said he recognizes the need to find a balance with the jobs local governments have with the requests of the state?s property owners.

He said what the Legislature has done so far ? including proposed property tax changes that will go to voters Jan. 29 ? will meet that balance.

"People are getting squeezed real hard," he said.

It isn?t just property taxes ? it?s also property insurance, he said, and he noted the struggling state of the state?s economy ? something he doesn?t expect will improve right away.

"We?re going to be dealing with it, I believe, for a couple more years," he said.

It?s a slump, he said, and to get out of it the state needs to become friendlier to a greater variety businesses, and not just the usual mix of housing, agriculture and tourism.

"We have to attract high-tech, high-wage businesses here," Saunders said, and to him, it?s worth spending money to attract those businesses.

In the long-term, Saunders said, he expects the state?s economy to recover and its population to continue to grow.

"I think the long-term economic future of Florida is very, very bright," he said.

For one specific Bonita Springs business, though, Saunders suggested the future may be more troubled.

In response to Councilman Richard Ferreira?s questions about new gambling being allowed in the state, Saunders said new casinos for the Seminole Tribe certainly won?t help the Naples-Fort Myers Greyhound Track.

The status of Gov. Charlie Crist?s agreement with the tribe is still being debated, but Saunders said gambling for the Seminoles is all but certain.

And unless the Legislature does something for pari-mutuels ? a possibility Saunders left open ? Seminole gaming is "going to kill, I believe ? the gaming at this track here."

If the state does decide to "help" the pari-mutuels, Saunders said the city wouldn?t need to worry about not getting a share of the revenue to improve local roads and services to support it.

"I?m not suggesting that anything?s going to happen," he said, but if it does: "no one?s going to be left high and dry on that."

This coming legislative session will be Saunders? last before his term expires, and he described how he?s approaching that time with "mixed emotion."

"I?ve enjoyed the ride very well," he said.<P align=center>

Will tax cut win approval Jan. 29?

Treasure Coast legislators hope proposal to ease property taxes passes, but they also expect more tax cutting during 2008 session

Jupiter Courier
By George Andreassi December 6, 2007

The Treasure Coast's representatives in the Legislature generally hope the property reform tax referendum ballot question will pass on Jan. 29, but no matter how the vote turns out, they expect more tax cutting during the 2008 session.

The property tax reforms did not do enough to help the owners of commercial and rental properties, said state Reps. Gayle Harrell and William Snyder, both R-Stuart, and Richard Machek, D-Delray Beach.

The referendum includes a proposal to cap the annual increases in the assessed value of commercial properties and second homes at 10 percent. It also gives businesses a new $25,000 exemption on business equipment.

However, the state representatives said they're not sure the proposed change to the Florida Constitution will receive 60 percent of the vote, the minimum needed for ratification of a constitutional amendment.

"I'm fairly optimistic it will pass," Snyder said. "I think its good for the economy. I think that it will open up the housing market, give the ability to sell a house.

"I wanted it to go further and provide relief for commercial property owners and people who own rental property. We'll have to go back and try that maybe this session."

Harrell said the fate of the referendum probably depends on whether Gov. Charlie Crist campaigns all out for it.

"Whether it passes or not, I'm sure there will be more tax reform," Harrell said. "We need to really give some tax relief to our businesses and also to the snowbirds, people who are owners of homes here, but do not have homestead exemptions."

Machek said he has mixed emotions about the referendum and he thinks the voters do too.

"I don't have a feel for it," Machek said. "I think a lot of people are going to make up their mind at the last minute."

State Senator Ken Pruitt, R-Port St. Lucie, said he hopes the referendum passes because it would reduce property taxes throughout the state by more than $12 billion over the next five years.

"Any time you can cut taxes to the tune of $12 billion, I would encourage them to seize the moment," Pruitt said.

?Increase $25,000 homestead exemption by about $15,000.

?Caps annual increase in assessed value for commercial properties and second homes at 10 percent.

?Allows homestead property owners to transfer up to $500,000 of their Save Our Homes benefits to their new homestead.

?Gives businesses a new $25,000 tax exemption for business equipment.<P align=center>

Tax Reform ?A Start, Not A Total Fix,' Faux Says

Polk County Democrat
By S. L. FRISBIE, IV, Publisher December 6, 2007

The proposed property tax reform amendment scheduled to go to the voters on Jan. 29 "is a start, not a total fix," in the opinion of Polk County Property Appraiser Marsha Faux.

But she's betting it won't make it to the ballot.

Opponents have said they will file a challenge to the constitutionality of the portability provision of the four-part tax package, and Ms. Faux believes the amendment will be stricken from the ballot by the courts.

That already happened to a proposal for a "super exemption" proposed by the Legislature earlier in the year.

Ms. Faux explained the features of the amendment and its impact on local government in a talk to the Bartow Rotary Club.

By way of background, she said that tax reform already mandated by the Legislature called for a reduction in local tax millages.

In Polk County, the rollback was 9 percent. That represented a saving of $40 to $120 a year for most homeowners, she said.

City and county commissions can restore taxes to the previous level only by a "super majority" vote of two-thirds, which works out to four members of a five-member commission. And commissions that nullify the previous rollback will lose their share of state sales tax revenues.

After a court threw out the "super exemption" amendment, the Legislature reconvened and proposed a four-part approach; voters must accept or reject the entire package:

? The present homestead exemption of $25,000 on homes occupied by the owners would be retained, and a second $25,000 exemption would be allowed on valuations exceeding $50,000.

The second exemption would apply to city and county commission taxes, but not to school taxes. The effective date would be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2008.

Creating the second $25,000 exemption is projected to save the typical Polk County homeowner about $400.

? A new exemption of $25,000 on tangible personal property would be allowed for homeowners and businesses. The primary impact for homeowners would be for people who live in mobile homes that are located in mobile home parks, and not on the owners' own property.

These homes pay for a mobile home decal instead of a regular property tax, but pay a tangible personal property tax for any improvements attached to their dwellings. The tax costs more to collect than it brings in, Ms. Faux said. The $25,000 exemption would virtually eliminate the tax on mobile homes.

A $5 increase in mobile home decals would bring in three times as much money, she said.

? Portability, the provision that faces a court challenge, would allow homeowners who purchase new homes to keep their "Save Our Homes" tax shelter, which since 1995 has limited annual increases in valuation to 3 percent.

Purchasers of new homes that cost more than their existing homes would keep their full "Save Our Homes" exemption; persons buying less expensive homes - typically the elderly - would keep a percentage of their exemption.

? Annual increases in property assessments would be capped at 10 percent beginning Jan. 1. 2009, one year later than the applicable date of the other changes.

The tax reform package would reduce revenues to the Polk County Commission by $17.8 million, Ms. Faux said. The impact on the City of Bartow would be $190,206.

Those are preliminary projections, and the impacts could be greater, she said.

Faced with reduced revenues from ad valorem property taxes, the speaker, said, city and county commissions could:

? Cut services.

? Lay off employees.

? Create new fees for governmental services.

? Create special taxes for law enforcement, roads and transportation, and other local government expenses. These would be similar to Polk County's special taxes to support libraries and recreation.

Three other proposed property tax reform amendments are being proposed by organizations circulating petitions seeking to put them on the ballot, Ms. Faux said.

"Beware of these," she urged.

In a question and answer session, Ms. Faux said she opposed the now defunct "super exemption" proposal, but hasn't made up her mind how she will vote on the new amendment, assuming it gets on the ballot.

She noted that no member of the Polk County legislative delegation had asked her opinion on the best way to approach property tax reform.

The state property appraisers association previously has proposed legislation that would roll assessments back to the 2003 level; would reduce valuations to 65 or 70 percent of the likely selling price instead of the present level of 85 percent; and would require that property be assessed based on its present use, not on its "highest and best use."

Rolling back assessments to the 2003 level "would get rid of the two years that the market went crazy" with soaring property prices, she said.

She said of that legislation:</DIR></DIR>

"I guarantee you it's coming back."
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Old 12-10-2007, 01:20 PM   #2
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Default RE: Florida Homeowners Tax update Vote "YES" Jan 29th

I'm not sold on these provisions. I know I'll get beat up for this stand.

1) I still think the problem is more on government budgets esclateing than on anything else. Get the budgets back to 2003 levels and then I will be willing to discuss tax reform. That alone would reduce the tax burden. All you are doing here is shifting the tax revune from one source to another.

2) I'm not sure this isn't away to allow property values to stay high or in increase in the future. I'm still not convinced the huge property value esclation was not due to artifical reasons.

3) My property taxes are pretty low right now. I don't want anything to change. And I don't understand how if my government can work on low tax rates, why can't others?
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Old 12-10-2007, 02:21 PM   #3
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Default RE: Florida Homeowners Tax update Vote "YES" Jan 29th

The local government here does such a good job of spending my money, why on earth would I want to put some of it back in my pocket?
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Old 01-05-2008, 03:13 PM   #4
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Default RE: Florida Homeowners Tax update Vote "YES" Jan 29th

If this passes ,Police and fire will have to cut back drastically on their services as well as manpower. If you dont think a couple hundred bucks a year is worth it, let this thing pass and you will see a bad difference. Sheriff's departments alone will have to cut 25% of thier personell and respond to only certain types of complaints...VOTE NO!!!!!!!!:boo...Thiswill also be detrimental to fir services. Charlie Crist said his tax cuts would not affect first responders or emergency personall. Now that they endorsed him, he decides to stab them in the back first. All this does is help him be a viable candidate for Vice President and make him look like he has the state of Florida votesewn up when the time comes to pick a VP....He's a real disappointment.
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Old 01-05-2008, 04:46 PM   #5
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Default RE: Florida Homeowners Tax update Vote "YES" Jan 29th

This is the beast deal we have going for now. It's not the relief many here needed but it is something for now. Many many people here have been hurt by the increase in property taxes (I still say insurance is our major problem). So any relief will help some. This program will save the average homeowner about $250.00 a year. But where it helps quite a bit is being able to take a portion of your existing Homestead Exemption to a Newly purchased home. This will help you save quite a bit on taxes on a new purchase depending on what you sell and what you buy.

The 1st thing the opposition always cries during something like this is: You are going to lose you Police , Fire , and School Money!!!! OMG!!!

Well it's time to tighten all the budgets. My income is down so I cut down on what I spend. It's damn well time our state and county did the same!!

Our little bit of a economic slow down has just begun. The effect is still slowly trickling down and I believe will get worse before it gets better.
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Old 01-05-2008, 06:07 PM   #6
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Default RE: Florida Homeowners Tax update Vote "YES" Jan 29th

I'm all for supporting essential services like police, etc., but when your dog (gov't) is getting way too fat, stop feeding it so much! This is the best and only way on the table to do it right now. The part that puts me solidly in the yes camp is the homestead portability issue. I feel bad for the elderly who want/need to downsize, but will end up with (sometimes MUCH) higher taxes! No way this is perfect, and a lot more has to be done to be fair and give relief to all, but it's a start, and sends a message. We ALL vote with our wallets, but many of us have seen our costs skyrocket, and incomes flatten or shrink. Gov't HAS TO adress that. JMHO
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Old 01-05-2008, 08:15 PM   #7
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Default RE: Florida Homeowners Tax update Vote "YES" Jan 29th

I'm all for any measurethat will keep a little more of MY money out of the govt.'s pocket.

But, from what I gather so far, anyone planning to stay in their home long-termwould be better off keeping the current exemption rather than selct the "super exemption".
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Old 01-05-2008, 08:24 PM   #8
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Default RE: Florida Homeowners Tax update Vote "YES" Jan 29th

Not posting my opinion yet , but all the posts have valid points and make for good reading keep them coming.
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Old 01-06-2008, 12:08 AM   #9
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Default RE: Florida Homeowners Tax update Vote "YES" Jan 29th

I agree with cuts but not in protective services,such as police,and fire,and medical. How about cut the fat in other areas. Crime is ever increasing in this state ever since the major hurricanes. These same people that want this big 250.00 break,i would bet are the same people that wont donate 35.00 to the volunteer fire department where everyone is a "volunteer" and not getting paid to save your butt. These same people who naysay their protective or emergency services are also the first to bitch at how slow the response time is when they have an emergency. I'm telling you first hand this county is having a hard time finding fireman and law enforcement now to handle the ever increasing violent crime ( which involves medical and fire issues), due to it being low paid acompared to the rest of the state.Voteing yes to this may save you 250.00 over a year, or 20 bucks a month, but the first time some piece of crap decides to steal yourstuff or break in your house, or destroy your property and I'll guarantee you'll have more than 250.00 tied up in the recovery or repair of your own property...Yes ,I am biased because I'm a cop, but I'm also trained to look at the big picture on any situation and reasonably make a well thought out decision. This is not good for this state,just so Charlie Crist can benefit from it later. Crime control and emergency services are a #1 priority in my book. You may not ever use them but like insurance when you do,it sure is nice.
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Old 01-06-2008, 03:29 AM   #10
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Default RE: Florida Homeowners Tax update Vote "YES" Jan 29th

Well, if emergency services are being cut, that's an asset allocation problem, not a funding problem.

The "its for the chillllllddddrrrrreeeennn" (insert cops, firemen, etc) is always the cry whenever government funds are threatened with a decrease.

We've had record revenue increases over the last seven years. Where has it all gone? Now suddenly, fiscal responsibility is upon us, and the government services of course don't want to take any of the hits, while the rest of us do.

Sorry, life doesn't work that way.

I'm voting YES.

PS: What percentage of property crimes are solved? Hmmmm... why do I think that statistic doesn't work in favor of the argument that we should vote "no" on this one?
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