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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

New exemption in play, House revises tax bill




House Speaker Marco Rubio, left, and Democratic Leader Dan Gelber talk about the property tax legislation prior to the 10 a.m. session. [Scott Keeler | Times]

The House session will wrap up quickly this morning, with revised bill language (most likely including the Democrats' median home value exemption approach) and financial analysis expected by Friday.

Members will return at 3 p.m. Monday for debate.

"We have a chance to do something meaningful. We have a chance to do something meaningful together," House Speaker Marco Rubio said moments ago.

The Democrat plan, dubbed "Save Our Homes Advance," would give all homesteaders an exemption equal to 40 percent of the median home value in a given county. People whose Save Our Homes benefit is already more generous would keep that benefit.

"It's definitely in play. There's a lot of support for it on both sides of the aisle," Rep. Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park said.

The upside is the exemption is more targeted to lower and middle income home owners (those with more expensive homes and bigger Save Our Homes exemptions benefit from portability) and it also protects counties with smaller tax bases. If the median value is lower in a poorer county, then the exemption is less, taking less money from government coffers.

The downside, Cannon said, is disparities that arise between counties, especially among homes that straddle county lines. Some say the plan could also discourage development of affordable housing because it lowers the median value.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 11:21am]


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