06/07/07 Robert Lorei
Radioactivity: Live Call-In (Thursday) | Listen to this entire show:

Good afternoon,

Welcome to Radioactivity… I’m Rob Lorei… coming up we’ll take a look at how non-profits will fare if the legislature rolls back taxes as part of the special session next week. Then we’ll open the phone lines for your calls.


Next week the state legislature holds a special session to deal with the ongoing property tax problem here in Florida. Property values have been rising in Florida for many years. And as property values go up- so do property taxes. Homeowners who have owned their homes for a long time and who are covered by the save our homes amendment to the constitution have seen their property taxes rise more slowly. But for newly arrived residents, owners of second homes, small businesses and renters- property taxes and rents have risen sharply.

Even some long time residents who are covered by “save our homes” say they are afraid to sell their homes because they will lose their save our homes tax cap and be socked with a much higher tax bill if they buy their next home in Florida.

Leaders of the state legislature were unable to fix the property tax problem at the regular session. So they are slated to return to Tallahassee next week to deal with the issue. The leadership has been very secretive about what its plans are.

One thing seems certain- the state legislature will require local governments to rollback taxes to the levels collected in 2005 or some other previous year.

But local governments are already raising alarm bells. Hillsborough County officials warned Friday that property tax changes being considered by the Legislature could have a devastating effect on basic services. Even the most modest proposal would force the county to postpone building 10 fire stations and the expansion or construction of seven new library branches, County Administrator Pat Bean said during a news conference. More aggressive cuts would delay as many as two dozen park projects and dramatically slash staffing at existing ones. The initial proposal out of the state House would force the county to eliminate as many as 858 jobs, though Bean said some of those jobs are part time. The more limited plan out of the Senate would require the county to shave a few dozen jobs. Some local governments are eliminating or reducing the funding they give to non-profits. That means that a host of programs and institutions might be caught up in the budget cuts. One aspect of the cuts not widely known is how they will affect organizations that deal with domestic abuse.

Earlier today I asked Linda Osmundsen who is the executive director of CASA- Community Action Stops Abuse, the non profit that deals with spouse abuse in Pinellas County. And I asked her how she would be affected by the proposals being floated in Tallahassee….


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