Discussion on reducing ad valorem taxes by Mitch E. Perry

06/01/06

Today 2 Republicans on the generally non-ideological Tampa City Council endorsed the idea of reviewing a classic GOP plank: reducing taxes.

City Councilman Sean Harrison introduced the idea of having the City Council and Mayor Pam Iorio’s administration review the possibility of reducing ad valorem taxes in Tampa, which have not been adjusted in any way since 1989. (roll tape#1 o.q.�very timely topic right now�)

Councilwoman Rose Ferlita chimed in with a strong second for Harrison’s motion, saying the Tampa taxpayer deserves a break (roll tape#2 o.q.’tax a little bit�)

Ferlita is stepping down from the Council later this year. She is running as a Republican for a seat on the Hillsborough County Commission, where she faces spirited competition from former Chamber of Commerce spokesman Brad Swanson.

Although the resolution offered up by Harrison was simply for a dialogue to discuss reducing the millage on property taxes, a couple of Council members spoke out immediately in denouncing the very idea.

Linda Saul-Sena said that she just learned recently that Tampa is self-insured when it comes to damages incurred from hurricanes, and believed that a priority should be in supporting that issue right now (roll tape#3 o.q.� safe endowment�)

Furthermore, Saul-Sena said that the call for reducing ad valorum taxes was irresponsible (roll tape#4 o.q.�as a City�)

Councilman John Dingfelder said he wrote to the Iorio Administration about a month ago about the possibility of rolling back the millage in some small way. He said he was informed about that because of hurricane issues, higher construction , insurance and gas costs, it probably isn’t something the Mayor supports. However , he said he still thinks its worth discussing in a public hearing (roll tape#6 o.q.�then we shouldn’t�)

But responding even stronger in her opposition to the idea of a property tax reduction was Mary Alvarez.(roll tape#5 o.q.�it’s not a good time to do this�)

The Council voted 5-2 to have a discussion on possibly reducing ad valorem taxes in 2 weeks time.

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