County Commission complains about Property Tax Cut Process
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06/20/07 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:

The Hillsborough County Commission will soon have to contend with the 5% budget cut that has been imposed on them by Tallahassee regarding property tax reform.

As they prepare for that, today they heard from Attorney and former GOP State representative Carlos Lacasa. He’s serving currently on the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission.

Lacasa said that last week’s Special Session regarding property taxes bring the most relief to home owners who already enjoy a homestead exemption. (roll tape#1 o.q.”share that sentime”)

The Taxation and Budget Reform Commission convenes only every 20 years. Lancasa said that the committee has many other tax issues to deal with, but those other issues will probably get short shrift, with the emphasis on property taxes. He says another way to address high property taxes is by addressing the way Local Property appraisers value homes, and especially businesses (roll tape#2 o.q.”personal issue for me”)

Commissioner Mark Sharpe echoed Lacasa in saying that non-homesteaded properties and businesses still need to have their hefty property taxes addressed. He also said he was concerned about the quality of life in Florida– with continuing growth, and yet no state income tax (roll tape#2 o.q.”sound quality of life”)

Commissioner Rose Ferlita said in retrospect, the process between state legislators and local governments on how to best cut property taxes, was somewhat lacking (roll tape#3 o.q.”for relief”)

Commission Chair Jim Norman criticized the state legislature about not leading by example in cutting their own budget this year. He described the exchange from lawmakers in Tallahassee as being somewhat paternalistic (roll tape#4 o.q.”to do that”)

Former Representative Lancasa said his group’s report will be due next May. Town Hall Meetings in local communities to discuss Florida’s taxes will begin in September.

Also today, The County Commission today approved an Ordinance that will require written permission from a club or bar owner before tow truck drivers can tow cars overnight at such establishments.

The ordinance was introduced by Commissioner Kevin White. He said he did so after hearing from frustrated constituents, who, after indulging at a bar, would do the responsible thing and take a cab home. However, they would then return to pick up their car the next day, and find it towed.

Now, as long as such customers check with the owner or manager of a bar or restaurant, tow truck drivers cannot take in such vehicles.

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