How are you going to Vote on Amendment 1?

Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by wrobert, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. wrobert

    wrobert Beach Fanatic

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    So anyone got any thoughts on this? The election is January 29th, in addition to Presidential preference, this amendment is on the ballot.
     
  2. Jdarg

    Jdarg SoWal Expert

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    Is this about homestead taxes? Could you explain it a bit?
     
  3. wrobert

    wrobert Beach Fanatic

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    Here is a synopsis I got from www.yeson1florida.com. I edited it down a little bit.

    1. Double the homestead exemption for almost all homeowners, providing an average savings of about $240 annually. The new exemption applies fully to homesteads valued over $75,000 and partially for homesteads valued over $50,000. This new exemption does not apply to school taxes.
    2. Allow portability: Portability will allow homeowners to transfer their Save Our Homes tax benefits from their old home to a newly purchased home. Portability applies to homes purchased in 2007 and later, and the benefit is capped at $500,000.
      If you upsize, you will be able to apply the dollar value of your Save Our Homes tax benefit to your new home.
      For example:
      1. Homesteader owns home valued at $300,000 and buys a new home valued at $400,000
      If you downsize, you will be able to apply the percentage of the Save Our Homes benefit to your new home.
      For example:
      1. Homesteader owns home valued at $300,000 and buys a new home valued at $150,000
    3. Provide an assessment cap of 10% for all properties, not previously capped: While homestead properties are already capped at 3%, now all other properties, including rental properties, second homes, and business properties, will be protected from huge increases in valuation. This new exemption does not apply to school taxes.
    4. Create a new $25,000 exemption for business property, including office furniture, computers, machinery and equipment.
     
  4. SHELLY

    SHELLY SoWal Insider

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    Two "no" votes in this homestead.


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  5. elgordoboy

    elgordoboy Beach Fanatic

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    Just reading that description isn't worth $240 much less actually comprehending it and then leaving my house to vote for or against. Like the man peeing into the sea said...but :dunno:
     
  6. Smiling JOe

    Smiling JOe SoWal Expert

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    "Double the homestead exemption for almost all homeowners, providing an average savings of about $240 annually."

    I disagree with the above. Theoretically, it might "save" the property owner $240, but in all likelyhood, with all of the caps and changes, we can expect the actual millage to increase, thereby eliminating any "savings." The County isn't cutting back on expenses, just taxing in a different form. Do you agree?
     
  7. Bdarg

    Bdarg Beach Fanatic

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    I am reluctant to use a lobbyist site to look for what a proposed amendment does or does not do. They are paid to have a slant. I sure that there are some independent sources out there. Or at least a look at the lobbyist on each side to see what strengths and weaknesses they each point out.
     
  8. SHELLY

    SHELLY SoWal Insider

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    Here's an article from Tampa with another slant:

    Better than nothing; is that good enough?
    By HOWARD TROXLER
    Published January 3, 2008

    Maybe you are thinking:

    "Thank goodness that the holidays are over! Now I can turn my full attention to figuring out this property tax thing on the Jan. 29 ballot."

    Hey, that's just what I was thinking, too! This is a big decision. So, let's take a look.

    Amendment 1 would do four things:

    (1) It would increase Florida's "homestead" tax exemption. The way it works now, we don't tax the first $25,000 of a home's value. The new total tax break would vary, but a typical figure is $40,000.

    (2) The amendment also would change the rules for the "Save Our Homes" tax break for homesteads. The tax break would become "portable," or transferable to a new home.

    (3) Businesses would get a little help as well, a tax exemption for their first $25,000 of tangible personal property.

    (4) All nonhomestead property also would get a cap of 10 percent a year on how fast its taxable value could go up. That's not as good as the 3 percent cap homeowners have, but it's better than the double-digit jumps of recent years.

    Now to the pros and cons.

    Before we go through the reasons to vote against it, be sure to remember the really good reasons to vote for it.

    Hey, look, it's a tax cut. Millions of Floridians will get a bigger break. Nonhomestead property, including businesses, will get a little help, and protection against future double-digit hikes.

    Maybe we should do other reform later, according to this line of argument. But at least Amendment 1 is a start.

    As a second reason for voting yes, some people hope the "portable" tax break under Save Our Homes will help the real estate market, since people no longer have to stay in their old home to keep their tax break.

    Now, for some of the arguments against Amendment 1:

    It gives the most help to homeowners, who already get the best tax break, and it gives the least help to those who need it most.

    It doesn't fix the underlying unfairness in Florida's tax structure.

    It doesn't reverse any of the big local government tax increases of recent years.

    It gives the average homeowner an insultingly small break, a couple of hundred bucks a year.

    It doesn't do enough for business.

    It might even make future tax reform harder to pass.

    It would require even deeper cuts in local services, in exchange for a fairly small savings for the typical taxpayer.

    Whew! That is a lot of criticism. But even if it all is true, there's still the "better than nothing" argument.

    My own thinking is that the Legislature took the easy way out with Amendment 1.

    Instead of a thoughtful, coherent reform, the Legislature held a quick three-day session in October, threw in a higher tax break for homeowners, stuck on a couple of sops to business, and called it quits. This is a shallow way to run the state.

    If you like the arguments for voting yes, and you agree that this is better than nothing, then go right ahead, and I will cheer for you.

    But me, I kinda hope the voters shoot it down and tell the Legislature: Try again, and do it better.

    -----------------------------------

    By the way, Charlie would like you to give $10 to help foot the bill to advertise 'your' tax cut: http://www.sptimes.com/2008/01/03/images/yeson1.pdf

    Apparently he didn't get enough from his NYC $1,000-a-person fundraiser hosted by Donald Trump. :roll:

    http://www.theledger.com/article/20071208/NEWS/712080390/1004


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    Last edited: Jan 4, 2008
  9. Smiling JOe

    Smiling JOe SoWal Expert

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    I think this is just a way for the politicians to appease the people, and I don't see how it will effectively make a change in the actual dollars paid. If anything, it puts more of a burden on new buyers to pick up the tabs for everyone else. I haven't looked at the link above, and would agree with BDarg if the link is for a lobbyist.
     
  10. beachmouse

    beachmouse Beach Fanatic

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    Two no votes in our household. Seems like it's nothing more than a shell game where we discover things are even more fubar because of it five years later.
     
  11. Bob

    Bob SoWal Insider

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    abolish SOH by phasing out the homesteaded tax savings over 7-10 years, then everyone will keep a watchful eye on taxes and expenditures. the current situation is nothing more than an angry, unfair stalemate that actually retards investment and homeowner mobility within this state. maybe that's a good thing?
     
  12. wrobert

    wrobert Beach Fanatic

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    Not sure but I thought spending caps are already in statute from last year. The overall revenue generation is limited to last year, plus new construction plus population growth and cpi. The problem with this is logically it seems to give incentives to government to approve projects since growth is where they get their money. I would think that this would lead to a streamlining of the planning process to make developement easier in the long term, and easier developement should allow prices to fall. If an overall cap is in place for total revenue generated, then as we grow millage rates would naturally come down.

    A limitation in dollar growth to the local budget is also going to force commissioners to become leaders. No more bountiful budgets built solely on value escalation. I think it was around 4 years ago the county budget jumped approximately 57% in one year, and they still managed to cut the millage rate. All because of the double digit valuation increase and the new construction coming online. As for commissioners raising the millage, I just do not see that happening to any large degree. Raising taxes leads to new leadership. They have consistently, but reluctantly lowered the millage each year for quite a while now. And each year it is mentioned that their may be a problem if we ever have to go back up. Under the current structure with Save Our Homes, millage rates have to go up more than 3% for most people to see a tax increase, especially north of the bay, because values are still catching up as property is sold. When people start seeing tax increases on a regular basis, it is going to change the whole dynamic of how someone gets elected in Walton County.

    I agree though Save Our Homes is unfair to anyone that bought in Florida in the last five years. And it also is locking people into their current homes that currently pay little taxes, but would be confronted with significant increases if they were to try to move. So I voted yes because anything that limits revenue to local government is a good first step in my opinion, and I like the portability part. Florida still needs spending reform at all levels of government.
     
  13. ShallowsNole

    ShallowsNole Beach Fanatic

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    A few months ago, the Property Appraiser's website offered a means of comparing your current and future property taxes under the proposed amendment. Personally, I do not want the "super homestead" on my home as in a few years my property taxes would equal my annual salary. But, for my inland co-workers, it forecast significant tax savings.

    As long as I can stay under Save Our Homes as it currently exists, I will vote yes on the amendment in order to allow others to have an option. As far as the big picture, there are no perfect answers.
     
  14. wrobert

    wrobert Beach Fanatic

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    Yes but that whole plan was scrapped when a judge threw it out. That is when the legislator came up with the current plan. It is confusing because both are called Amendment 1. I guess they did not want to have to change all the yes on 1 bumper stickers that were already printed. But like you, if I do not move, nothing would change for me except it would allow the government to take less money.
     
  15. Smiling JOe

    Smiling JOe SoWal Expert

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    Yes, revenue is limited (unless there is growth), but, assuming there is no growth, if you cut people's taxable valuations, and County tax revenue stays the same, the millage must increase to make up for the difference, and therefore actual tax dollars (revenue) would remain the same.
     
  16. hnooe

    hnooe Beach Fanatic

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    "Ditto, and ditto for us--I guess my 2 dogs can't vote" :lol:
     
  17. TooFarTampa

    TooFarTampa SoWal Insider

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    Thanks for posting Troxler's column, SHELLY. I almost always agree with him, and this is no exception. The bottom line, as he wrote it and in my thinking: "I kinda hope the voters shoot it down and tell the Legislature: Try again, and do it better."

    It will be a no vote from me too.

    Yes, yes, yes, a thousand times yes. Funny how nothing like this idea has been seriously floated. I do favor keeping SOH for seniors though.
     
  18. Bdarg

    Bdarg Beach Fanatic

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    I am cautious of long term solutions to short term problems. Amendments are hard to reverse down the road.

    As far as using growth to pay for government services that is asking for trouble. With growth always comes more need and more demand for more services. I have never seen, nor have I ever heard of, a more densely populated area having lower taxes and fewer services than a rural less densely populated area.
     
  19. wrobert

    wrobert Beach Fanatic

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    First, no growth? Do not see that happening. Do not see overall valuations going down because there is still new stuff coming online. Do you think any of the current sitting commissioners have the fortitude to raise millage rates any significant amount? And if they were put in that position, would we not finally start generating debate over just what is the purpose and function of government? Before they raised taxes they would have to take a serious look at prioritizing services for the citizens. These actions could actually lead to less government and more personal responsibility, imho.

    I also got a mail piece from the big state unions telling me that if Amendment 1 passes that we will have to do without fire, ambulance, and law enforcement. Those sort of scare tactics make me want to vote for the thing.
     
  20. wrobert

    wrobert Beach Fanatic

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    I doubt you will ever see SOH abolished because the legislature can not be trusted to hold the line on anything.
     

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