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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

A property tax feast in the House



[Proponents of the 1.35 percent property tax plan meet this morning with Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, who has signed on as sponsor of the bill. Times photo | Scott Keeler]

Gearing up for an election year, the Florida House moved forward on several property tax bills today, including one to cap property taxes at 1.35 percent of taxable value. The proposal would effectively set millage rates at 13.5.

House Speaker Marco Rubio has championed the legislation even though it has little, if any, chance of passing in the Senate. But the term-limited Miami Republican could use passage in the House as another springboard for leading a citizen petition to place the plan on the 2010 ballot. Organizers say they have collected more than 150,000 signatures. They need more than 600,000.

"Whether or not we do this today, it's going to happen," asserted Rep. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, the bill sponsor.

Other plans being moved by the House: A TABOR-style revenue cap limiting growth to inflation and population plus 1 percent, and a plan requiring local government to post expenditure records online.

Democrats mostly oppose the measures, saying that the Legislature already forced local government to rollback property taxes and then voters in January approved Amendment 1. They accused Republicans of pushing the measures for help in November.

"It makes for a good stump speech when you are running for re-election, but members, we are not running for re-election today," said Rep. Curtis Richardson, D-Tallahassee. "We don't know what the impact is of what we've done already."

Said Minority Leader Rep. Dan Gelber: "You have a fatal attraction for soundbytes."

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 10:53am]


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