Lawmakers consider several tax-cut plans

10/15/07 Mitch E. Perry
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Lawmakers continued to debate a proposed property tax cutting package in Tallahassee today.

The tentative proposal would allow seniors with household incomes under $24,000 to be exempt from property taxes. First-time homebuyers would receive additional cuts in taxes for the first several years of home ownership.

Other changes would make it easier for homeowners to challenge property assessments.

If voters were to approve the measure that would go before them in January, the amount of savings the plan would deliver varies widely depending on people's circumstances. For some it would be a couple hundred dollars, while others could see a few thousand dollars savings a year.

Democrats in Tallahassee haven’t indicated where they stand on the proposed plan.

Jim Davis, who ran for governor last year against Charlie Crist, said it’s too early to tell how good – or bad – this latest property tax plan is.

House Speaker Marco Rubio has cautioned that the plan may be a bit underwhelming for some. But Senate leaders say polling they've seen indicates it is more popular with the public than a previous, more generous proposed tax cut.

Former Tampa Congressman Jim Davis says the issues with taxation in Florida are much bigger than what lawmakers will be able to detail in a Constitutional Amendment. And he says the GOP led Legislature is to blame.

Meanwhile, other GOP legislators may not be satisfied with whatever comes out of the special session this week.

The Orlando Sentinel reported today that Melbourne Republican Rep. Mitch Needleman filed a proposed constitutional amendment to eliminate all property tax and replace it with a higher sales and use tax.

Another Republican, Rep. Rob Schenck of Spring Hill, has also filed an amendment that would give every new homesteaded property the same discount they would have enjoyed if they'd had the Save Our Homes cap since 1994.

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