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School Funding in Limbo

July 22nd, 2008 by flanews

A controversial tax swap plan is causing a stir across the state. Tuesday the Florida Association of Realtors announced a million dollar effort to pass Amendment Five. The amendment would cut property taxes and raise sales and other taxes. As Whitney Ray tells us, teachers say the amendment would short change schools.

Hear it Here: School Funding in Limbo

In November Floridians will be asked to change the way public schools are funded. A proposed tax swap plan would eliminate the portions of property tax earmarked for schools. The idea is to replace 25 percent of your property tax with a penny sales tax increase.

The tax cut would save home owners about nine billion dollars, but a one cent sales tax increase would only raise Three billion, leaving state lawmakers looking for ways to keep schools open.

The one penny sales tax is just an option. There are another menu of options to make up the difference. Were not trying to short change schools at all. Were going to fund them but were going to fund them with a much more dynamic economically strong activity, said Republican State Representative Frank Attkinsson.

The Florida Education Association said the plan leaves schools in limbo.

Its one of those things were, theyve left the commitment as vague as possible, said FEA spokesman Mark Pudlow.

The Florida Association of Realtors has vowed to spend a million dollars campaigning for Amendment Five. Realtors spent a million dollars pushing Amendment One, which passed in January and promised to save the states housing market.

This is Amendment one on steroids. This is Amendment one times five or six, said Florida Assocaition of Realtors spokesman John Sebree.

Realtors credit amendment one for the recent increase in statewide home sales, but sales are down when compared to last years numbers. At least 60 percent of voters will have to vote for the state constitutional amendment in order for it to pass. State Senator Mike Haridopolos is touring Florida this week, campaigning against Amendment 5.

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

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