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Property Tax Debate Begins

October 15th, 2007 by flanews

Lawmakers are at the Capitol to work on getting a property tax cut amendment on the January ballot.  But as Chris Casquejo tells us, under the current proposals, a majority of property owners might not see any relief.

Hear it here: Property Tax Debate Begins

In Florida, businesses own 34 percent of the taxable property. Rental property and second homes make up another third, leaving homestead property owners with the rest. Neither businesses nor rental unit owners will benefit from tax plans currently being talked about at the Capitol.  But a business lobby group is pushing to extend the current 3 percent cap to all properties.

“We want a 3 percent cap on what property taxes can go up on an annualized basis,” said Rick McAllister, with the Florida Retail Federation.  “And two, we want a revenue cap that says cities and counties can’t exceed that unless there is a referendum.

Lawmakers are considering providing some relief to landlords renting affordable housing and to commercial properties located along the water. 

While owners of rental properties and commercial real estate are clamoring for property tax relief, some Democratic lawmakers say even the current proposals go too far.

“It’s got to be this big tax cut.” said Sen. Steven Geller.  “And we keep changing before we ever see results of the prior changes.

Governor Charlie Crist says he understands the need to help renters.

“I’m a renter.  When property taxes went up, my rent went up,” the governor said.  “So my hope is when property taxes go down, rents will go down.”

Democrats will have some say in whatever happens, if only because a three-fourths vote is required to put something on the ballot in January.

A House committee unanimously approved the property tax package Monday afternoon.  The Senate’s first formal vote should come Tuesday.  Last month, a judge threw out a proposed amendment because it was too vaguely worded.

Posted in Amendments, Charlie Crist, Politics, Property Taxes, State News, Voting | No Comments »

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