Florida Homestead Services - Florida Homestead Exemption Act Forum
Visit our main website at Florida Homestead Services.com
 | Forums | Sign Up | Reply | Search | Statistics |
In the News Florida Homestead Services - Florida Homestead Exemption Act Forum / In the News /  

Lawmakers break property-tax standoff

Author johnbsims3
Admin Male

#1 | Posted: 12 May 2007 07:06 
Lawmakers break property-tax standoff

In a potential breakthrough in the property-tax stalemate, House and Senate leaders have agreed to consider a new approach that would give super-sized exemptions to homeowners and create first-ever exemptions for all other property owners.
The turnabout came Friday, when House Speaker Marco Rubio embraced a weeks-old plan from another legislator and modified it to allow for bigger savings for homeowners, including seniors and the wealthy.

The new approach is designed to give a higher percentage tax break to people with lower-priced homes and would require voter approval. Homes with up to a $300,000 market value would be taxed on just 20 percent of the home's value. The taxable percentage on homes valued up to $1 million: 30 percent. Those over $1 million: 70 percent.

While the Senate is likely to hesitate at the tax cut's size and impact on local government, senators are encouraged that Rubio finally is backing off his plan to swap homeowner taxes with property taxes in return for a more targeted approach.

The Senate's lead negotiator said he was encouraged by Rubio's change of heart.


''I think we are on our way to having a consensus plan that will save taxpayers money without raising taxes or shutting down local police stations,'' said Senate Republican leader Dan Webster of Orlando. He added he is ''very open'' to offering the super exemptions, but acknowledged that ``there are many details yet to be worked out.''

The big questions remain unanswered: How much will people save? How much will it cost local government? Who will benefit and lose out? All those details scotched negotiations before the regular session ended May 4.

Meanwhile, Miami Mayor Manny Diaz and House Democrats are pitching similar proposals that would give homeowners a super-exemption equal to half or more of the median market value of all homes in each county, rather than the percentage-based rate now embraced by Rubio.

Diaz said Friday that Gov. Charlie Crist has asked his staff to collect more information on how to create a tax exemption based on the median price of residential property.

''It's simple and it automatically adjusts to the differences in each county,'' he said. ``It gives the relief in a very targeted way.''

House Democratic Leader Dan Gelber said that by using the median value, the tax rate ``would grow with the housing stock of a community.''

Rubio said he hasn't rejected the Democrats' plan but concluded it had ''unanswered questions.'' He called his new approach ''a starting point'' but offered no specifics as to what impact it would have on city and county budgets. He said the average taxpayer would see taxes cut in half but said he couldn't explain why he decided on these percentages.

''It gives you a tremendous amount of flexibility,'' he said. ``If we can arrive at a consensus of how much people need to save on their property taxes, all you have to do is alter the percentages to equal that number.''

Rubio said a similar percentage-based tax exemption should be applied to commercial and non-homestead property. But he added that he wants taxes collected by school districts -- which account for about a third of property taxes -- to be exempted from the plan.


Webster's Democratic counterpart, Sen. Steve Geller of Cooper City, said there needs to be far more agreement on how much to cut taxes and what impact those cuts will have on local government as lawmakers head into the 10-day special session on property taxes that begins June 12.

Geller said he is concerned Rubio is promising tax cuts that are too big while failing to provide any hard data showing their effect on local governments.

Rubio suggested he's willing to back off the steep tax cuts he called for -- about $85 billion over five years -- and is moving closer to Crist's proposed number of about $35 billion.

He also has backed off his call for a bottom-line savings number, which he insisted upon during the regular session, saying that now he prefers to agree on how to cut taxes before agreeing on how much to cut them.

Rubio said the new approach gives the Legislature the flexibility to determine how much tax relief to give people. ''It really targets the relief to the people who need it the most and that minimizes the impact on local government,'' he said.

The super-exemption idea, originally pushed by Rep. David Simmons, an Orlando Republican, would require a constitutional amendment to give the Legislature the ability to set the rate of the homestead exemption, which is now $25,000 for most homeowners.

In the News Florida Homestead Services - Florida Homestead Exemption Act Forum / In the News /
Lawmakers break property-tax standoff
Your Reply Click this icon to move up to the quoted message

Only registered users are allowed to post here. Please, enter your username/password details upon posting a message, or register first.
  Powered by Forum Software miniBB®