How are you going to Vote on Amendment 1?

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

  1. Here4Good

    Here4Good Beach Fanatic

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    WaltonGOP, thanks for posting your report on the meeting in DFS.

    I am voting Yes on Amendment 1, to make the County governments accountable for what they spend.

    Under the current system, local residents who have owned their homes more than three years or so (which should mean most of the voters) are not affected in the least when the BCC increases the budget by 40-50%, which they have done. Indeed, sometimes the voters get a tax cut via a rollback of the millage rate (don't even get me started on how BCC violates the spirit of the intended budget process).

    I've attended the budget hearings, and there are a handful of local residents who also own rental properties who are there to protest. This is the long-term effect of SOH - we've created an entire class of voters who have no skin in the budget game. They are protected from their own County Commission.

    The Walton BCC has been raising their own budget by astronomical amounts with very little outcry from their voting base. The amount of homesteaded (i.e, subject to SOH) tax base in this county is something like 25%. The other 75%, for the most part, is funded by non-voters.

    Under Amendment 1, the other 75% will now have a cap, also. This means that if the county wants a 50% increase in their budget, they will have to increase the millage rate, and the voters will have to sit up and take notice, since their taxes will be affected.

    I want to see the true effect of any budget increases to be seen, heard and felt by the voting population. Amendment 1 will really only pass a small part of these increases along to the voters, since everyone gets to keep SOH, and take it to their next property, but it will at least insure that budget increases look, act, smell and feel like budget increases.

    No more headlines that say that the BCC has rolled back the millage rate (which under the state mandated budget process, they are OBLIGATED to do) and are waiting for applause from the populace.
     
  2. wrobert

    wrobert Beach Fanatic

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    Ahhhh....finally someone who gets it. You are so correct. I have sat in on budget hearings and it seems that taxing authorities tend to do it backwards around here. First they calculate how much money they would get if they held the millage rate the same with the newly increased values on all the property. Then they take that pot of money and see what all they can buy with it. Thus causing most property taxes to go up, but the actual voter's taxes to fall or slightly decrease.

    The right way to do it, is to calculate the millage rate based on bringing in the same amount of revenue as last year. Then see what added costs and new projects need to be accomplished in the coming year, then see what you would have to do to the millage to accomplish that task. And then actually get the project done in the coming year or two. Remember the courthouse expansion in DeFuniak Springs--10 years. New jail in DeFuniak Springs--8+ years. New animal control facility in DeFuniak Springs--8+ years and counting.

    The longer government takes, the more it costs the taxpayer. I understand the new animal control facility is now over $2 million dollars and going up everytime it is discussed. Something has to be done to stem the flow of dollars into the treasury.

    Also here is a link to the first portability calculator I have been able to find.
    http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/state/orl-tax1708jan17,0,1785631.story
    I am sure the tax rates are for Orange County so your actual tax bill and savings would be proportionately lower. But it does give you some idea as to why portability is an issue, and why FAR seems to believe that it will help start the housing market back up again.
     
  3. TooFarTampa

    TooFarTampa SoWal Insider

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    Native of Tampa now in Boston 'burbs. Left my hear
    I think we get what you are saying, but in my opinion changing state law because of problems specific to Walton County makes no sense. Do you not care about how other parts of Florida are affected?
     
  4. Here4Good

    Here4Good Beach Fanatic

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    I don't think this problem is specific to Walton County. I do think that only the counties which want huge budget increases are the ones which will have to
    increase millage.
     
  5. wrobert

    wrobert Beach Fanatic

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    It is not specific to Walton County. In fact, it will actually affect Walton County the least of just about any other county in the State according to Department of Revenue estimates.

    Do take the time to go and try out the portability calculator. The savings reflected are going to be closer to actual for your area, and see if you think that savings of that amount might influence the decision of people to move from their homes.
     
  6. JOE who

    JOE who Beach Lover

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    at one time sowal... : ( i do miss it
    PLEASE... before making a decision log onto FLORIDATAXWATCH.org and read up on 'the other side'... This group is a non-profit that watches tax dollars and tries to keep the 'pork' away... ALSO, when political heads start asking you to pass an amendment, i believe it deserves a CLOSE second look...
     
  7. Here4Good

    Here4Good Beach Fanatic

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    This is an excellent analysis of the situation, and I agree with most of their points.

    However; we have had this "legislated" millage cap in place for years, and the BCC (and other counties) have ignored it. Where is the state when this happens? I know of no agency I can call and report my county commission for violating state law. If there were such an agency, we would need a branch office in Walton County.

    The only power we have over local spending is who we elect to the county commission.

    I wish that there was a way to vote "No; now go back and do it right" instead of just yes or no.
     
  8. Busta Hustle

    Busta Hustle Beach Fanatic

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  9. Smiling JOe

    Smiling JOe SoWal Expert

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    I don't understand your point. It is my understanding that the millage rate in Walton County has decreased each year for at least the past two year. :dunno:
     
  10. Here4Good

    Here4Good Beach Fanatic

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    Read WaltonGOP's post on the correct budget process, and how Walton County does it instead. Walton County does not START from last year's budget, roll back the millage to what it would take to collect that amount, and then justify any increases. With the increase in the tax base, we should have had large reductions in the millage.
     
  11. Smiling JOe

    Smiling JOe SoWal Expert

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    I understand. I've been yelling for a long time about the @ssbackward way the BCC sets the budget, based on the property valuations and current tax rates, rather than setting the budget for needs, then setting the millage based on the needs.

    Remember that Early Voting has started in Florida. I voted this morning, and it took all of two minutes, including the time to read the entire ballot.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2008
  12. SHELLY

    SHELLY SoWal Insider

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    BH,

    Thanks for the video. Admittedly Gaetz' clear and concise explanation of the bill is the best I've heard to date coming from the "Yes" camp.

    Having said that, the story he uses to support the portability issue is laughable--pumping money into the economy by purchasing a new basketball hoop? :roll:

    Moreover, I call 'BS' on his prediction that a "no" vote will make the legislature essentially say, "Well, the folks don't want tax reform--OK, so where are we going for lunch this afternoon?" Whereas a "yes" vote will make them say, "WOW the people are really serious about cutting taxes...let's order up some additional midnight oil and work through the weekends and holidays to cut, cut, cut their taxes even more!!"

    And just so Gaetz' and the other Floriduh legislators get a clue, I'll send an e-mail that says, "Not good enough, try again." They should at least give it more consideration than they did when they selected Key Lime as the "Official State of Florida Pie." http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Bills/billsdetail.aspx?BillId=32043
     
  13. Busta Hustle

    Busta Hustle Beach Fanatic

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  14. Smiling JOe

    Smiling JOe SoWal Expert

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    I totally missed this until I was reading the ballot this morning, but the additional homestead deduction and $25K business deduction on tangibles, doesn't apply to the taxes going to the schools, which is by far our most expensive part of our property taxes.
     
  15. Smiling JOe

    Smiling JOe SoWal Expert

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    Florida House of Representatives in front of a chart showing the 2008-09 General Revenue Outlook as the House Policy & Budget Council began working with the slumping projected revenue figures during committee week on Tuesday, January 8, 2008, in Tallahassee, Florida. Front row left-to-right shows: Chairman and Speaker-designate Rep. Ray Sansom, R-Fort Walton Beach; Vice Chair Rep. Stan Mayfield, R-Vero Beach; and Rep. John Seiler, D-Pompano Beach.
     
  16. wrobert

    wrobert Beach Fanatic

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    What legislated milliage cap are you referring too? The only cap I am aware of is the 10 mill cap which we are significantly lower. The school district was close to that in the eighties when millage was up to around 8 or so before people started moving into the area.

    FDLE as well as the State Attorney's office handles violations of state law in the area. I remember a commissioner doing 'weekends' at a local federal correctional facility for violations of the law in the past.
     
  17. wrobert

    wrobert Beach Fanatic

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    The forum in DeFuniak Springs and the information I have seen states that the TPP deduction does apply to schools. Patrick Pilcher says that will remove over 90% of the businesses from paying the tax each year.
     
  18. Here4Good

    Here4Good Beach Fanatic

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    "Millage cap" was the wrong word to use - I meant the legislated millage rollback to last year's revenue levels.
     
  19. jlweathers

    jlweathers Beach Lover

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    was surprised that so many people share my opinion of this proposal being grossly inept & a poor attempt at "reform". The severity of this problem is huge & requires adequate action - this proposal is weak.

    The increased homestead exemption is estimated to provide a few hundred dollars in savings....well how much has your property insurance premiums increased since reform? seems like multiple "special one time assessments" has wiped out any benefit.

    A 10% cap on non-homestead property....when does anyone think that property values are going to increase by >= 10%? Not anytime soon & probably should not ever happen in any one year.

    The $25k tangible personal property exemption is suppose to alleviate some 80% of those tax payers from shelling out $, but again only another few hundred dollars of savings...small peanuts.

    I actually like the portability but not enough to salvage the whole amendment.

    Vote NO to express your displeasure with this halfhearted effort! Our politicians dallied around for an entire year to come up with a plan and then threw this together to give the appearance of "accomplishment".


    Our good Gov. Christ has sorely disappointed me & proven to be a champion of irrelevant/ineffective policy.
     
  20. wrobert

    wrobert Beach Fanatic

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    $98 in Walton County at the current millage rates. But taxes and insurance, while both are common problems that CC states he is fixing, are two seperate issues.

    Average valuation in Walton County went up over 50% in 2004 and has risen over 10% a couple of years after that. While it is not going to happen this year, under current standards, if a particular neighborhood were to get 'hot' again, it is possible without the cap for this protection to be needed.


    Over 90% in Walton County. But the costs to have the paperwork completed usually far outstrip the tax. It is a nuisance. I do not see why something should be kept since it is a small amount.


    And hopefully they will take this as a sign of displeasure instead of just an indication that the current system is not as broke as they thought.
     

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