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Tax Package Being Debated

October 29th, 2007 by Mike Vasilinda

Florida lawmakers are working against a midnight deadline to pass a property tax reform package. But as Mike Vasilinda tells us, a take it or leave it deal is leaving a bad taste in some peoples mouth.

From beginning to end, it took the Senate just over three hours to send the house an ultimatum…pass our property tax plan or get nothing at all.

The plan doubles the Homestead Exemption. Senators say it is simple and it gives homeowners what they want.

“People came and said ‘look, I want a couple things,” Sen. Jim King said. “I want the double homestead. I understand homestead. I’ve got one homestead, two is better than one. I want that.’”

The plan also lets homeowners take tax savings to a new house, and it caps future increases on businesses and second homes at ten percent. Sen. Ronda Storms failed at lowering the cap.

“I can go back to my constituents and my small business owners and say, you know, we got something,” Storms said. “It’s more than half a loaf.”

The future in the house is anything but certain. House Speaker Marco Rubio doesn’t think the plan goes far enough.

“It doesn’t kick start our economy and I think that was really, at the end of our day, that was our ultimate goal, was to do something that changed the economic environment in Florida,” Rubio said. “And that just doesn’t accomplish it. We missed a golden opportunity.”

Charlie Crist was cautiously optimistic.

“I think that the Senate has done incredible work,” Crist said. “I am very encouraged about what I hear as it relates to the House and I am optimistic.”

Even if lawmakers agree before their midnight deadline, three out of five voters must also say okay in January.

The plan to let homeowners move and take their homestead exemption with them is retroactive to January 2007.

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