Saturday, December 15, 2007

One more Florida Property Tax reform proposal!

December 15, 2007

The last addition is pending review from the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission. It would repeal most of school property taxes, replacing them with the inclusion in the state sales tax of SERVICES that are mostly exempt at the present time.

In 1987, the taxation of services lasted for only a few months and was repealed by the Florida legislature under strong opposition by business interests.

The proposal was sponsored by Commissioner John McKay, a former Florida Senator. It came immediately under attack by business interests who claim that it would mainly affect small business and cause the losses of thousands of jobs. They claim that very few states levy taxes on services; service business could be easily transferred to neighboring states. The Coalition for to Protect Florida's Economy (which is said to represent more than 200,000 employers) is strongly opposing the proposition.

The proposal would allegedly cut total property taxes by about 40% and has received some approval by different groups who claim that it would be of great relief for businesses who now pay a disproportionate share of property taxes.

It would apparently target areas that are now exempt, such as legal fees, accounting, printing, transportation, automobile repairs, while retaining the non-taxation of food, medicine, electricity and some essential services.

This new proposal is aimed at correcting the shortcomings of the now legislature- approved tax reform that will go on the ballot on January 2008, which do not provide major relief to owners of non-homestead properties, as well as business and investment properties owners.

My opinion: Reduce taxes, reduce taxes, reduce taxes. Not by swapping creativity, not by increasing one tax to reduce the next one, not by ignoring the main issue. Which is: Reduce expenses, reduce expenses, reduce expenses.

Our bubbling bureaucracy, our absurd multiplication of services, our unreachable goals of pensions and benefits for the ever-increasing class of public employees is the real issue and the real problem to be solved.

Our teachers are the lowest paid in the US, but the most of the proposals to reduce property taxes will further compromise schools budget.

However, we still have a ridiculous amount of small cities with their own water departments, fire departments, mayors, commissioners, parties, cultural departments, and so forth. And the prospect of pension plans for this whole new class is an ominous threat on our future.

Is this an economical way to spend our money? Citizens' consensus is NO.

Magic cannot be performed without real reforms. Our public service expenses have not created a better school system (Florida has one of the worst in the whole country), has not improved citizens' quality of life. It has just gobbled the billions of dollars of property over-taxing and will not give up a penny without a bitter fight.

Is anybody going to put together a proposal that addresses the real causes of the problem, not its consequences?

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