Florida Lawmakers Close to Agreement on Property Tax Deal

By: Mike Vasilinda
By: Mike Vasilinda

The new property tax cutting plan doubles the $25,000
homestead exemption to $50,000, although homes would have to
be worth that much to take advantage of the additional exemption.

Under the new scheme, the first $25,000 in value on this house would be exempt from taxes. Then the owner would pay taxes on the
next $25,000 and then anything over 50 to 75 would be exempt as well.
It is a plan Charlie Crist likes.

"I think we have a pretty good idea of what the people want. You know, they kind of scream it to us as we walk around the state. It’s no secret what they would like to have happen. And this isn’t the end of it
either. We can keep chopping away,” Gov. Crist says.

There is also a provision to allow homeowners to take their homestead
exemption with them when they move, although their home value will rise more quickly than someone who stays put. Small businesses will be able to exempt some of their equipment from taxes. Local governments, who opposed the last attempt, say the devil will be in the yet to be released details.

“You can’t have true reform and not have us at the table right now.
These are deals that are being done without us being totally involved
like we should,” says John Thomas with the Florida League of Cities.
Lawmakers are considering extending their current special session on the budget to work on the tax amendment over the weekend and into next week. They face an October 29 deadline to have something ready for the ballot.

The Governor says the state will drop the appeal on the first amendment if lawmakers come up with something workable for the
January ballot.

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