Thursday, January 25, 2007

Now it's time to focus on property taxes

Now that the special session on property session is in the history books, it's time to start focusing on property taxes.

Be assured, liberals and the MSM will tell you that cutting property taxes will gut local budgets. They'll tell you that tax cutters are taking valuable education dollars out of the hands of educators. Don't fall for it!

Property tax reform will help ease the burden on homeowners and renters. It will also force local governments to cut the wasteful spending and inject some fiscal discipline into their budgetary processes. This is the thrust of Governor Crist's message:

His new pitch: Property taxes must come down, partly because city and county commissioners spend too much money.

Because state and local taxing power is controlled by the Florida Constitution, and thus requires a voter driven amendment to change, Crist and House Speaker Marco Rubio are advocating a special election as early as this summer.
Holding off until the next regular election in November 2008 would mean reforms
likely could not take effect until the following fiscal year, which would begin
Oct. 1, 2009, for many local governments.

"I always feel patience is a virtue, but on this issue I hope we'll be a little impatient," said Rubio, R-Coral Gables.

Under Rubio's scenario, a special election would be held this summer, followed by a special session in September for lawmakers to pass implementing legislation. That way, the reforms would be in place before city and county budgets take effect Oct. 1.

Senate Finance and Taxation Committee Chairman Mike Haridopolos, R-Indialantic, had previously advocated a special election.

Florida Senate leaders have also begun to work on the tax issue. Legislators have scheduled a series of public hearings to give citizens an opportunity to ask questions and give opinions. The first meeting was held today in Panama City. See the complete schedule here.

The Florida Senate has also posted a property tax test to help educate taxpayers. They have also setup an email address for citizens to submit comments.

Governor Crist campaigned on doubling the homestead exemption from $25,000 to $50,000. This would be a good start.

We will continue to follow this issue, and we'll also bring you proposals as they come available.

1 comment:

SevenHillsPatriot said...

Proprty Tax Test? Wonderful!