The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Flips and flops on property tax breaks and sales tax exemptions

14

April

Rep. Marcelo Llorente's bill to ask voters to remove a provision known as the so-called "recapture" rule passed the House Economic Development Council on Tuesday, but it is in trouble in the Senate.

The measure, called the "Assessment of Homestead Property that has a Declining Market Value," would eliminate the requirement that even if property values decline, homeowners whose homes are appraised at below-market rates because of Save Our Homes could have their property taxes increase by 3 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less.

Senate President Jeff Atwater, who has his eyes on running for state chief financial officer if Alex Sink runs for governor, said he'd like to see the Senate take it up this session, even though the bill has not been heard in a single Senate committee. "Personally, I think the recapture is a good idea,'' Atwater said. "There is certainly time for it.''

But Senate Finance and Tax Committee chairman Thad Altman sees things differently. "I don't know if we're going to see recapture this year.''

The sentiment was the same over in the House, where House F and T chairman Ellyn Bogdanoff said she viewed the provision as the only way to secure some equity into Florida's off-balance property tax system. Read more on that here.

Of course, people have been known to change their minds. After Bogdanoff told us this was not the year to push for the elimination of sales tax exemptions, she changed her mind and told us Monday that she's going to pursue the elimination of tax breaks to bring back sales tax holidays. "I'm not doing it for the purpose of raising revenue,'' Bogdanoff said. "There are a couple of sales tax exemptions that just don't pass muster.''

Among them: sales tax exemptions on fitness centers that hospitals get, taxes on magazines and newspaper ordered through the mail, charter boat fishing, nonprofessional sports team skyboxes, ostrich feed.

"What most people would appreciate more than anything else is the opportunity to have a sales tax holiday,'' she said. "It’s more about policy than politics right now. If we can give them a little bit of a break so they can prepare for a hurricane or get their kids back to school.''

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[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 8:36pm]

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