CHARLIE CRIST'S PLAN TO HELP LOWER YOUR PROPERTY TAXES
Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist continued his crusade against property taxes while his Democratic opponent Jim Davis isn't doing enough to help Floridians. We don't publicly support any particular candidate, but we want to share the promise of lower property taxes.
Crist has promised $4 billion in property tax cuts if elected in November by doubling the $25,000 homestead exemption for homeowners while allowing them to keep accrued "Save Our Homes" tax savings if they move anywhere in the state, somewhat the same as the portability initiative that Rep. Carl Domino spearheaded, which failed.
Addressing crowds in Gainesville recently, Democratic candidate Jim Davis said doubling the homestead exemption is "not good enough. We can do better," though he has yet to announce his own property tax relief plans. His latest ads only state one billion in savings, 1/4 the amount of Crist's plan.
"I'm looking forward," Crist said and "This is an election about the future, and we're offering a point of view that believes we need to cut the taxes of the people of Florida. I'm a positive guy. I'm not going to blame people."
Of the nearly $20 billion in tax cuts approved by the Legislature the past eight years, almost all directly benefited wealthy investors, large landowners and businesses instead of the middle class homeowner. Crist defended his party by saying soaring property values brought on by good economic times are the cause of higher property taxes, not Republican inaction. He also said he would not support increasing other fees to offset the $4 billion loss counties and school districts would have to deal with if his property tax cuts were approved.
Crist's proposals would need approval from lawmakers and possibly from voters with a statewide vote on a constitutional amendment to allow the changes. That might necessitate a costly special election in 2007 because the next statewide election isn't scheduled until 2008.
The Republican Party of Florida ad takes some liberties with the facts in blasting Davis for failing to support property tax cuts. Davis does support tax relief, though he hasn't released a detailed plan. He's said the state needs to pick up its fair share of spending instead of forcing counties to carry the burden with higher property taxes.
The ad claims Davis called "the sales tax holiday `goofy,' " and "a gimmick", but we believe it is neither. While Davis called property tax relief "a gimmick," he forgets the people who need it most...the Florida lower and middle class homeowner.