Florida Lawmakers Zero in on Soaring Property Taxes

By Mike Vasilinda
January 24 6:52 p.m.

Hundreds paid their way to the Capitol last week to protest high insurance rates but they also had plenty to say about their property tax bills as well.

“Insurance premiums and taxes, they’re causing housing prices to come down."

The top leadership at the House is calling for a special election this summer to change the homestead exemption and give homeowners more savings.

“People need the relief right now as badly as they needed property insurance relief, they need property tax relief.”

In the last five years, property local governments have collected 83 percent more while the population has only increased 12 percent. One plan will tell local governments that just because property tax values are up, you still can’t spend all the money.

Two committees met to talk about solutions, the Senate has a place on its web site to submit comments on property taxes, and it has scheduled eight public hearings in the next month.

“One thing we have found in our studies which is very clear. We do not have a revenue problem. We have a spending problem.”

Charlie Crist campaigned on doubling the $25,000 homestead exemption. He also wants to let homeowners to take it with them when they move.

“I heard, you know, all last year that people feel trapped in their homes. They don’t feel like they have the freedom to move.”

Before there can be a special election this summer, three-fourths of the legislature will have to agree.