Property Tax reform
From the Miami Herald-
TALLAHASSEE -- Save Our Homes, the constitutional amendment that has shielded homeowners from taxes on $404 billion worth of property value this year, has spawned a new tax revolt in Tallahassee: Save Us From Save Our Homes.I've been in my home nine years, and plan on staying here for many years more. Property tax reform, namely scuttling Save our Homes, is only going to put a big dent in my wallet. As I've blogged before, I'm lukewarm so far as any tax reform goes. All I see happening is Florida taxpayers taking a hit somewhere else. Where we save in one place, we'll end up paying for somewhere else.
The supporters are not typical homeowners -- they're state legislators who will meet this week to vote on a plan to phase out the Save Our Homes tax cap because it has distorted the tax system, shifting billions of dollars in taxes to businesses, investors, snowbirds and, most importantly, recent home buyers.
But one thing stands in their way: the very voters they need to approve the plan by a 60 percent margin. Most of those voters are longtime homeowners who have enjoyed the richest benefits from Florida's current property tax system.
Legislators are touting the plan -- which would remove $31.6 billion from property tax rolls over five years -- as the biggest tax cut in state history. But it will also cut government services, reduce tax money to schools and set up two permanent classes of taxpayers in a system that could run afoul of the U.S. Constitution. Lawmakers will decide in their 11-day special session starting Tuesday whether this is the package to bring before voters in a Jan. 29 special election.
Many homeowners, like Thomas Hardt of Fort Lauderdale, who has lived in his Victoria Park neighborhood for more than three decades, see no need for a change. He's not impressed with the Legislature's promise of tax savings if he votes to phase out the Save Our Homes system, which has capped increases in the taxable rate on his home at 3 percent a year since the act took effect in 1995.
ABLE TO KEEP HOME
''Save Our Homes has made it possible for me to stay in this house,'' said Hardt, a 64-year-old retiree. ``I couldn't have lived here without it because of taxes and the cost of living. I'm happy where I am.''
Linked to- Bullwinkle, High Desert Wanderer, Right Voices,