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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Crist has a plan



After weeks of standing by as the House and Senate work out property tax plans, Gov. Charlie Crist on Wednesday unrolled his own proposal, calling for $33.5-billion in cuts over five years without increasing sales taxes.

Rollback to 2003: In the first year alone, local government would lose $3.9-billion, or 24 percent. That is higher than the Senate plan but lower than the House. The Crist rollback would save the average taxpayer $340 next year, and $1,987 over five years. Schools, water management districts, hospital districts would not be affected. A cap based on inflation and population would include all revenue, including impact and other fees.
Double homestead exemption: Would kick in in the second year, but voters in each county would decide whether to adopt.
Save Our Homes portability: Would begin in third year.
25 percent tax reduction for first-time home buyers. Would not matter if person already owned home in another state.
Exempt first $25,000 of business tangible personal property

Though Crist campaigned on portability and doubling the homestead exemption, he has come under pressure to take a more visible role in the negotiations, especially now that the Senate and House are locked in a game of chicken.

Crist began showing the two-page plan to lawmakers on Wednesday. "Our goals are almost identical," said Sen. Dan Webster. "The numbers are different, but the goals are the same."

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 1:45pm]


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