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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio switches gears, tax swap dead

House Speaker Marco Rubio has backed off his plan to trade property taxes on primary homes for increased sales taxes. In a conference call with reporters today, the Miami Republican detailed a new plan that gives exemptions based on a percentage of property value.

On a home’s first $300,000 in just value, 80 percent would be exempt from property taxes / On the next $700,000 in just value, 70 percent would be exempt / On just value above $1,000,000, 30 percent would be exempt.

The new homestead exemption for a $300,000 home would be $240,000. Using the example above, 90 percent of all homestead property owners would benefit more from this proposal than under the current Save Our Homes structure. The average homeowner would see his tax bill cut in half, according to Rubio.

Non-homestead residential properties and commercial properties would also be exempt on a percentage of their just value and would see property tax savings. Specifics have not been developed.

"I feel as strongly about the sales tax swap as I did when I started," Rubio said. "But we also have a job to do and that's what we're focused on now." The new approach was first raised by Rep. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, but also reflects ideas put out by Democrats. (See Senate response in comments)

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 1:49pm]


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