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Tax Swap Approved

April 24th, 2008 by Mike Vasilinda

Efforts to stimulate the economy won out over a fear that a tax swap would cause havoc and make schools worse. Come November, As Mike Vasilinda tells us. voters will now decide if they would like to raise the sales tax and replace a part of their property taxes.

It may be the most powerful commission that youve never heard of.

With the power to send something directly to the ballot, tension was obvious on those in the audience as the commission debated whether to trade a sales tax increase for reducing property taxes.

Opponents painted a dire picture.

Were about to do something and put it in our constitution thats going to wreck our economy, Randy Miller with the FL. Retail Federation said.

Because the sales tax raised less than half the money that will be lost from property taxes, the plan could lead to a tax on everything from legal fees to dry cleaning. In the end, lower property taxes trumped fears of a massive tax hike.

Every property tax bill, minimum 25 percent reduction? We have got to do something, Lee County Property Appraiser Ken Wilkinson said.

I kind of think that this is saving our school system, realtor Nancy Riley.

As passed, there are questions about whether this can really force the legislature to hold education harmless.

Were unsure at this point, Andy Ford with FEA said. Weve got out constitutional lawyer still looking at the issue on whether this actual is a guarantee that the legislature has to fill the hole or not.

The plan already has bitter opposition.

And the average homeowner is going to pay the tax when they go buy stuff, Pat Robert with the Florida Broadcasters Association said. Theyre going to start taxing services like they did in 1987.

The tax Swap is likely to spur the most expensive and bitter battle of this election year.

Posted in Amendments, Legislature, State Budget, State News, Taxes | No Comments »

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