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Poll Finds Voters Want Property Tax Relief at Expense of Business

February 6th, 2007 by Mike Vasilinda

A new poll tonight says most Floridians agree with the governor’s call to double the homestead tax exemption, but they don’t think people should get a break on their taxes just because they have lived in Florida longer. Unlike the insurance crisis, as Mike Vasilinda reports, there will be no easy or quick fix from lawmakers.

Hear it here: Tax Relief

Property taxes keep the schools running… and police and firemen on the street. A plan to double the homestead exemption is favored by eight out of ten people. But Orlando would lose at least 5 million. Other big cities even more. The plan has all of the cities and counties worried, says John Wayne Smith of the Florida League of Cities
“We’re recognizing the property tax issue is broken in this state and needs to be fixed. We’re concerned, though, that some of the proposals might the ability of local governments to continue to do their job.”

Charlie Crist, who’s pushing the doubling of the exemption, has said it will be up to local governments to tighten their belts. Pollster Peter Brown of Quinnipiac University found most people believe that state government that is the most wasteful in Florida.
“Although they, you know, a lot of them think local government also doesn’t manage money well,” says Brown.

State Senator Steve Geller says the state has only itself to blame for the brewing revolt.
“We in Tallahassee cut taxes by mandating that local school boards increase theirs.”
Unlike insurance, which took just ten days, property tax reform is likely to consume all 60 days of the legislative session… and perhaps even more.

Voters also believe that businesses should pay higher taxes than homeowners… setting up an uncomfortable battle that lawmakers must referee. Voters will have to approve any change lawmakers come up with. That could happen in a special election as early as this summer, or it may have to wait for the November 2008 ballot.

Posted in Property Taxes, State News | 1 Comment »

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