HISTORIC PROPERTY TAX RELIEF CLOSER TO BECOMING A REALITY
~House Council Votes to Give Floridians the Last Word on Property Tax Relief and Reform~
Florida voters would be given the final say on cutting property taxes by $8.8 billion and the chance to completely eliminate property taxes on homestead properties under a measure approved Friday by the House Policy and Budget Council.
PCB/PBC 07-01, the second component of the House Property Tax Relief and Reform Act, was overwhelmingly approved Friday 21-12 by the House Policy and Budget Council.
"A vote against this bill was a vote against property tax relief, plain and simple," said Representative Dean Cannon (R- Winter Park). "No amount of spin can erase the fact that the plan we approved today is the single largest tax relief package in Florida history, a potential net savings of $6.7 billion dollars for anyone who is currently being crushed under the high cost of property taxes. If you pay property taxes, under the plan approved today, you will see relief."
"Lobbyists and politicians don't get to decide what 'meaningful tax relief' means, the people do," said Majority Leader Marty Bowen. "For two years the people told us that meaningful property tax relief means cutting taxes, capping local government taxing and spending, and giving Floridians, not politicians, the chance to vote on comprehensive and meaningful tax reform. Today's vote completes the development of a property tax reform package that Floridians demanded, and House leaders have delivered."
This legislation is the second part of a comprehensive tax relief package being offered by House leaders. Specifically, it gives Floridians a chance to vote for even further tax relief by placing a constitutional amendment on the ballot to eliminate $3.1 billion dollars in homestead property taxes statewide in exchange for an additional 1 cent state sales tax which is paid by Floridians and tourists. The amendment also provides the opportunity for even more tax relief, by forcing every county and school district to hold countywide votes by November 2010 on whether to completely eliminate property taxes on homestead properties.
Under the plan, homeowners could see a potential 100% savings on their homestead property taxes, while non-homestead owners will save at least 15%. The average commercial property owner will save $2,919 dollars on their property tax bills, with the potential to save an additional 24% through the $25,000 Tangible Personal Property exemption also approved as part of today's proposal. At a minimum, all property owners will save $8.8 billion on their property tax bills if today's plan is approved by the voters.
"For too long, government has been taking, and taking, and taking," said Representative Trey Traviesa (R-Tampa). "Today's vote was about government giving back, and tipping the scales of power back into the people's favor. Today's vote was about taking power away from government, and giving it back to the people who lent it to us in the first place. And today's vote will give Floridians the final say in deciding how much or how little they can afford to pay in taxes."
Today's vote signals House leaders' commitment towards moving forward with their plan to provide across-the-board property tax relief. With the Council's vote, the bill will now move to the House floor for final approval.
According to Policy & Budget Council Chairman Ray Sansom (R-Destin), "The vote today was very simple – we voted to elevate the people's voices and to empower them, not government, to decide how their tax dollars will be spent."
The problem of out-of-control property taxes has been debated for years, culminating in a statewide series of hearings where House and Senate members heard from thousands of Floridians who talked about the impact that property taxes are having on their families and small businesses.