Group forms to pass tax plan
A new group has formed to push for passage of the "super" homestead exemption plan on Jan. 29. Sen. Mike Fasano, Gov. Charlie Crist, Nancy Riley, president of the Florida Association of Realtors and others will appear this afternoon at the Tampa home of Vernonica Greco to tout the effort, known as "Yes on 1, Save Our Homes Now."
It is the first step Crist has taken, aside from voicing public support for the plan. Last week, a poll showed voter support for the measure had dropped 10 points from July and is now 13 percentage points below the required 60 percent.
Quinnipiac University pollster Peter Brown said Crist's popularity gives him the ability to reverse that trend. "But obviously he has to invest time and effort into it if he wants this to pass," Brown said last week. "He probably needs to get out front on it and not just say, 'I'm for it.' "
The inclusion of "Save Our Homes" in the name raises questions. Save Our Homes is wildly popular so the name association could have a positive effect. But it could also be viewed as misleading since the new plan is designed to phase out Save Our Homes.
By acting today, Crist could be jumping ahead of ahead of another top politician with an interest in taxes -- House Speaker Marco Rubio. The Miami Republican was to unveil his own effort last week, but the announcement was put off until this week.
Voters on Jan. 29 will be asked to replace the current $25,000 homestead exemption with a percentage based system that would knock off up to $195,000 on the first $500,000 of property value.
If the exemption is approved, existing homeowners would have to make a one-time, irrevocable choice whether to take the new exemption or stick with the 3 percent cap on annual property assessments known as Save Our Homes.
Yes on 1, Save Our Homes Now will be co-chaired by Sen. Fasano and Paul Neaville, a partner with the Markham Group who worked on the Rod Smith gubernatorial campaign last year. Roger Enzor, past president of the Florida Association of Realtors, will be serve on the committee.