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Property Tax Debate Hits Speed Bump

October 16th, 2007 by Mike Vasilinda

Supporters for the elderly and the schools squared off over property taxes in Tallahassee today. Schools could face massive losses if a property tax break is given to hundreds of thousands of senior citizens, so as Mike Vasilinda tells us, lawmakers are blinking.

Hear it here: Property Tax Debate Hits Speed Bump

Florida has 415 thousand senior citizens who could end of paying no property tax under the initial plans circulating in the Capitol. Democratic Senate Leader Steve Geller called the plan unworkable because it takes half a billion dollars from schools for each of the next four years. He says it also opens the door to fraud.
Who are you going to get to stand up and say Yes Im here to speak in support of potential fraud and abuse?
asked Geller.
Gellers complaints set off fireworks in this Senate Committee. Shes 96 years old said State Senator Rhonda Storms when describing a constituent. Storms accused Geller of scuttling a tax break for the 96 year old.
Shove her aside on her tottering legs and say sorry, you have to sit down, were not helping you because, see there might be somebody in Miami who might abuse this system. says Storms.

Schools are not the only ones complaining. Most Police and Fire unions say if there are any more property tax cuts there will be one result: fewer people to respond to emergencies.

Meanwhile, Charlie Crist says hes willing to listen as negotiations ebb and flow. “You know, were in a process that includes the activism of democracy and were seeing that in action. says Crist.

And by the end of the day, low income seniors had lost their total homestead exemption in the Senate but were hanging on to a break for the first 1 hundred thousand dollars in value, while school lobbyists hunted for a way to avoid any cuts at all.

The House version of the plan has the full break for seniors and a three percent growth cap on all property in the state.

Posted in Business, Charlie Crist, Legislature, Politics, Property Taxes | No Comments »

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