Property Tax Spending Cap becomes closer to reality in Hillsborough County by Mitch E. Perry

WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday

Hillsborough County Commissioner took their first step towards putting a cap on County spending as a way to lower property taxes.


The idea, first conceived by Commission Chairman Jim Norman last month, would tie the amount of property tax money that the County Government spends to increases in inflation and population growth, rather than let it increase as property values have increased.


But there many questions that Commissioners had today about the plan.  And one commissioner said that he planned on carving out significant amounts for Transporation projects in the coming years. 


Ken Hagen is set to go forward with implementing a Transporation Task Force.  He said that the County has a several billion dollar deficit in transportation funding, and he plans on correcting that (roll tape#1 o.q.”may or may not agree with that”)


Commissioner Mark Sharpe said that he also favors putting significant funds into transportation projects, which might break the proposed spending caps (roll tape#2 o.q.”and those are very expensive”)


But Commission Brian Blair, a fierce advocate for tax cuts, told Commissioners that they could pay for transportation from moneys from the Community Investment Tax.


Commissioner Jim Norman told his fellow Commissioners that existing contracts the County has would be outside of the policy proposal, as would Constitutional Officers.

He said it would only be ad valorem taxes (roll tape#3 o.q.”would have been rolled back”)


Last September, the Hillsborough County Commission – and County Commissions and City Councils throughout the state – were seemingly stunned by a veritable tax payer revolt.  Hundreds crowded into local government chambers as they prepared to set the millage rate for the next year. 


The last minute explosions of citizen disgust prompted the Hillsborough Board to make $10 million dollars in budget cuts – including cutting some valuable social programs.

Commissioner Norman said he was trying to avoid that with his proposal (roll tape#4 o.q.”the taxpayer”)

Commissioner Brian Blair concluded the discussion by saying that he whatever fellow Commissioners came up with, he was determined to ask for significant tax break later this year (roll tape#5 o.q.”true millage relief”)

 Hillsborough County’s property tax revenue increased by nearly 16 percent last year because of growth and increased values.  Assessed values on owner-occupied homes are limited to a 3 percent increase by the state’s Save Our Homes Amend

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