Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Governor's New Tax Plan Is Another Bad Idea for City

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Governor's New Tax Plan Is Another Bad Idea for City

Article excerpt

Byline: Ronald L. Littlepage

Tallahassee is at it again.

Support for what Gov. Charlie Crist and Republicans in the Legislature thought would be a slam dunk - a constitutional amendment to supersize the homestead exemption - is dropping like a rock, to use one of Crist's favorite phrases when he's fanning the flames about taxes.

That reversal has Crist and the Legislature scrambling to switch gears. Rather than redo the amendment to meet the complaints of a judge who ordered it off the January ballot because it was misleading, a new plan is quickly being hatched and could be approved by the middle of next week.

That's bad news for those who believe in home rule and the philosophy that local decisions are best made by local officials.

The details and the effects of the new proposals are still in flux, but here's what we know so far:

Crist is pushing his original idea, one that was scuttled by the Legislature earlier, of doubling the homestead exemption to $50,000. The second $25,000 would apply only to primary residences valued at more than $50,000.

The Mayor's Office projects that the $50,000 exemption would remove $40.5 million from Duval County's tax rolls for the next fiscal year.

The new plan also would provide a $25,000 exemption on the value of tangible property such as equipment owned by businesses. That would take another $3.1 million off the tax rolls here, the Mayor's Office says.

The effects of two other parts of the plan are unknown.

One would provide "portability."

In other words, homeowners who move anywhere in Florida could take their property tax savings from their previous residence with them.

The other part of the plan would provide first-time homesteaders an exemption worth 25 percent of the value of the home.

The Mayor's Office says the impact of those two parts of the plan can only be measured over time, but at a minimum $4. …

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