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Tax Swap in Court

August 13th, 2008 by Mike Vasilinda

A judge will decide whether voters are being mislead by a controversial amendment on the November ballot. The so called Tax Swap promises a reduction in school taxes but not a reduction in school spending. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, the amendment only promises schools will be funded for the first year.

In 1987, Florida gambled on a tax on services. It created a national uproar. Advertisers and conventions boycotted the state. It stayed on the books just six months.

Now voters are being asked to tell the legislature to bring back the service tax. In exchange they get a reduction on their property taxes.

The problem is there is a big gap between whats being cut and the alternatives being offered as a replacement.

The wording voters will see on the ballot says school budgets wont be cut. But deep in the actual language, the guarantee is for just one year. Whether the wording is misleading is now before a judge.

It indicates that the loss of the required local funding and that the reduction in the available millage is balanced out by an equal requirement for state funding to replace it. Thats not true, Barry Richard with the Coalition to Protect Floridas Economy said.

Supporters say it will be up to the legislature to figure out how to fund schools

There are other ways to pay for it and were providing the legislature, in this amendment, two years to come up with alternative sources, John MacKay with Yes On 5 said.

The amendment is likely to be the most fraught over idea, both in court and on the airwaves, this election season.

Governor Charlie Crist and Florida Realtors are supporting the amendment as a way to revive the economy.

Posted in Amendments, Charlie Crist, Education, Legislature, Property Taxes, Taxes | No Comments »

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