A #1

This is what they call a tough television story.

Words like “issue” or “amendment” or “ad valorem” or “revenue” in a newscast typically have the same affect as the hypnosis-inducing “You are getting sleeeepyyyy…” That’s why the Governor has perfected the K.I.S.S. method of selling the Property Tax Amendment #1: “Vote yes on One and lower your taxes”.

What a brilliantly clear and simple message. But by now most voters realize it’s just not that easy.

I know this because I’ve gotten a good number of emails from bright, engaged people asking for explanations and clarifications on what a yes-vote or a no-vote might mean down the road. To one of my “regulars”, a 50-something lawyer and long-time homeowner who likes broadcast-style simplicity, I sent the following Pro-Con list. He found it helpful; maybe you will, too. No No-Doze necessary:

PRO – An increased homestead exemption will likely save you a few hundred dollars a year. (Because school taxes will not be affected, the exemption will not really be “doubled”, though).
CON – For about the price of an annual dinner with wine at Capital Grille, $9B will be cut over the next five years from local governments that police your streets, taught your son, and pick up your trash.
PRO – With portability, you empty nesters can finally downsize without paying through the nose.
CON – The inequities in the taxing system created by Save Our Homes would remain, and would likely be worse. A#1 will probably be challenged as unconstitutional because it creates a system that taxes homesteaders forever differently than other property owners/buyers.
PRO – Non-homesteaders finally get something: $25,000 break on tangible personal property for businesses and a 10% percent “save our homes”-style cap on yearly assessments.
CON – A 10% cap is probably too high to make a difference anyway.
Some more CONS – No help at all for first-time home buyers; no guarantee that local governments won’t raise millage rates to make up for the losses to local budgets.

Not much of all that is actually explained on the ballot.
Come to think of it – reading the Amendment 1 ballot question made my eyes glaze over.

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One Response

  1. I just got one of those programmed phone calls from US Senator Bob Graham who told me, in the call, that we are a County and State of family values and good educational goals and interests and thus I should vote down the Miami Dade slot machine permission issue—-he was a great Governor and Senator but this time I will pass on his message and vote for the slots b/c I am fed up with this county and this state moving backwards, backward and more backwards….it is time to hit the dirt and bring some life back to the State of Florida and whether it is slots and the ca-chinggggg of silver dollars dropping into the bottom of a slot machine that’s hit Triple 7’s—-or whether its voting down A1 and sending a message to the lawmakers that it is their job and duty to fix the property and tax crisis, and not that of the voters in a railroaded version of ‘tax relief’ in ‘tax reform’ clothing, it is time we set that State of Florida rightside-up. I hope others see it my way.

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