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County, City Leaders Say Tax Cap Plan Would Destroy Economy

April 3rd, 2008 by flanews

A plan in front of the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission puts power to raise local taxes in the hands of the State. City and county leaders from across Florida gathered in Tallahassee today to warn against the plan. As Whitney Ray tells us opponents of the plan say it would ruin the economy.

Hear it here: County, City Leaders Say Tax Cap Plan Would Destroy Economy

Decisions on how much money to spend for local roads, emergency health care services, and even local school funding would be made in Tallahassee under a plan being floated by a powerful commission. Education leaders say state lawmakers dont know what each individual school districts need.

Its a one size fits all amendment, Wayne Blanton with the Florida School Boards Association. You dont have any flexibility through out the state, and Floridas one of the most diverse state in the nation and we have to have flexibility.

City and County Leaders agree. They joined in opposition to the newest draft of the Tax Payer Bill of Rights. The plan caps tax increases at the rate of inflation and puts the power to raise taxes in the hands of lawmakers. Proponents of a Taxpayer Bill of Rights say local Governments havent been responsible with taxpayer money. Some said is about power hunger lawmakers who want more control. County Commissioners say theyre not interested in a power struggle.

I dont care about power, what I care about is a library system, getting the potholes fixed, clearing out the ponds, and providing the services that make a community work, said Leon County Commissioner Bob Rackleff.

A Taxpayer Bill of Rights was adopted more than a decade ago in Colorado. Voters choose to postpone the plan. Carol Hedges, a financial analyst from Denver, said if a taxpayer bill of rights is written in to Florida law business would suffer.

Weve seen the attractiveness of our business climate decline because we dont have quality roads. The school system is under funded, said Hedges.

If a Taxpayer Bill of Rights is approved by the commission, the battle over who decides tax increases would be up to voters. The Taxation and Budget Reform Commission will review the Taxpayer Bill of Rights Tomorrow in Tallahassee. If 17 of the 25 members approve the plan it will be on the November ballot.

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