Friday, August 15, 2008

Property Taxes Battle Updated

Aug. 15, 2008

Judge John Cooper stroke Amendment 5 from Nov. 2008 ballot. The proposal to cut property taxes by about 25%, while raising sales taxes by 1%, and limit to 5% yearly increases in properties assessments, was ruled misleading since it didn’t give voters enough information about its potential threats to school funding.

The Legislature is required to compensate Florida Schools, only during the first year, actually 2010. The attorney for the Taxation & Budget Reform, the proponent of Amendment 5, indicated an almost sure appeal to Florida Supreme Court.

Opponents of the plan include the AARP, the Teachers’ Union, many business groups, and other organizations.

Florida Assoc. of Realtors’ president expressed disappointment since Amendment 5 would have substantially helped the struggling Florida Real Estate industry by lowering property taxes for residents, businesses and non-residents real estate owners.

While I am a realtor, I respectfully disagree. Florida real estate industry would be better served by sensible laws and making sure that our schools and education's funding are a priority.

Florida has already one of the worse schools system in the U.S.

The disdain that Amendment 5 shows to this top priority is what has caused a major upheaval.

Taking away their traditional funding, while promising them that, for only the first year, they would be guaranteed their previous funding is outrageous.

Not only does it leave to day-by-day legislators' discussions, agreements and disagreements, pacts and partisan rulings, the funding of what is Florida's future. It creates a gap that will be covered by new taxes, and raising our present sales taxes.

And, in all truth, the whole purpose of this ongoing battle is to protect our fat-cat cities, against any citizens' supervision over their out-of-control budgets; and to live in denial of our actual problems.

This is not a tax swap. For many Florida's residents, I would say perhaps a majority, it will mean higher taxes. Think about that: a majority of Floridian don't own their home. To punish them, we increase their sales taxes, and we put in jeopardy their public schools.

I am a realtor and I would surely benefit from lower property taxes propelling our hurting real estate market. But being shortsighted and selfish will actually do me more harm than good on the long term.

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