Cool response to new property tax cut plan

10/11/07 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday | Listen to this entire show:

Gov. Charlie Crist enthusiastically endorsed a compromise plan to cut $11-billion in property taxes today. But House Speaker Marco Rubio continues to downplay the proposal.

Although some aspects of the plan – such as preserving the Save Our Homes tax cap, making it portable, and doubling the homestead exemption to $50,000 - are receiving a positive reaction, many citizens say overall it still doesn’t address their huge property tax bills.

One constituency which says they still will not see any relief are small property owners.

Marty Altner rents out apartment units in Clearwater.

Another constituency not pleased with the tweaks to the constitutional amendment on property tax reform are snowbirds.

Gerry Brissenden is president of the Canadian Snowbird Association. He says all so called snowbirds, not just from Canada but from other states who reside in Florida during the winter months, are being disregarded, mainly because they don’t vote.

Brissenden says the problem is that the Save Our Homes cap has created a wild disparity in who pays property taxes in the state.

Although Crist and other lawmakers have agreed not to touch school funding in the new proposal, thecuts would wind up slashing cities' and counties' budgets nearly as severely as the "super" exemption proposal would have.

Cragin Mosteller is with the Florida Association of Counties.

Many GOP legislators have dismissed concerns from municipalities regarding budget cuts, saying that the across the board cuts implemented earlier this year failed to bring about the crises that some local officials feared.

But Cragin Mosteller from the Florida Association of Counties says those state lawmakers aren’t really paying attention.

Specifically, Mayor Pam Iorio said Wednesday that property tax rollbacks have left Tampa unable to operate future city facilities.

According to the University of Florida, there were 818,000 snowbirds statewide – a key cog in maintaining the state’s economy.

But that economy is already struggling, as the Legislature just agreed to cut more than a billion dollars in next year’s budget.

According to Brissenden of the Canadian Snowbird Association, the numbers of snowbirds is going to drop further, because of worries about escalating property taxes and property insurance.

Brissenden told the Sarasota Herald Tribune earlier this week that he has yet to meet with Crist regarding his members.

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