Crist cites 'good consensus' on property taxes
Gov. Charlie Crist says there's such a "pretty good consensus" on property taxes that he wants to extend the current special session, scheduled to end Friday, and keep lawmakers in town on the issue that has bedeviled all of them since January.
Crist has been on the phones with lawmakers on a new tax plan. It would add portability to the popular Save Our Homes exemption and increase the homestead exemption from $25,000 to $50,000, though that exemption may "skip" the second $25,000 of a home's value and exempt $50,000 of the first $75,000 of value. The governor also said he was inclined to omit property taxes for education from the plan, which will please pro-education lawmakers and school boards but reduce the size of the tax break.
Crist, who discussed the tax issue on the phone Tuesday morning with House Speaker Marco Rubio, went out of his way to give one legislator much of the credit for what he called a breakthrough: Sen. Steve Geller, a Democrat from Broward.
"I've got to tell you what an important component he has been to all of this," Crist said of Geller, his classmate at Florida State and the Democratic leader in the Senate. "I trust him to the end of the world."
Asked if he felt he was rushing things too fast, Crist said: "We have a pretty good idea what the people want."
-- Steve Bousquet, Tallahassee Bureau Chief