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After Amendment 5

September 4th, 2008 by Mike Vasilinda

The Supreme Court’s decision to kick the tax swap amendment off the ballot leaves nothing for property owners to do but complain. As Mike Vasilinda tells us the next move with be up to state lawmakers.

TRIM notices or truth and millage statements, have been showing up in mailboxes. Telling property owners what to expect when their property tax bills arrive later this year. One thing is for certain, the governor’s oft repeated “we’ve got to drop property taxes like a rock,” is not reality.

In most cases, if property taxes are falling at all, it is more like a pebble.

Charlie Crist was ready to campaign for the tax swap amendment before it was kicked off the ballot for being misleading. At a hurricane briefing, he tried not to react.

“I’m concerned with Hanna and Ike right now,” Crist said. “That’s where I go from here.”

But afterward, reporters persisted: would he call lawmakers into a special session to deal with property taxes?

“We’ll get back to you on that,” he said.

A special session is exactly what the Florida Chamber is calling for.

“Well, we would hope that the governor and the legislature would convene as soon as possible to look at solutions,” Dan Krassner with the Florida Chamber said.

The Florida Education isn’t going that far, but it is suggesting something needs to be done for schools.

“We have to figure out a way that we can fairly tax everyone in the state and also maintain the services we need, like investing in public education,” FEA spokesman Mark Pudlow said.

So far there are lots of ideas about what’s wrong with the state’s tax system, but no concrete ideas for making it better.

Since lawmakers and the Tax and Budget Reform Commission started tinkering with the tax system last year, two of their three proposals have been knocked off the ballot because they were not clear.

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