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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio ups tax package by $3-billion




House Speaker Marco Rubio credited Gov. Charlie Crist's "extraordinary leadership" but said the proposed property tax cuts, particularly doubling the $25,000 homestead exemption, will lead to public disappointment.

"This is a time for candor," Rubio said during a 1 p.m news conference. "The voters of the state of Florida understand what this is. It would serve no one to stand up here and say this is the best plan ever."

In turn, Rubio offered $3-billion in additions to Crist's $6.3-billion proposal, including curbing "highest and best,"; assessing affordable housing at less than just value; eliminating property taxes for low-income seniors; and creating exemptions for homeowners who make energy efficiency upgrades. Rubio also called for changing the way people challenge assessments -- putting the burden of proof not on the homeowner but the property appraiser. More detail here.

Despite his less than upbeat tone, Rubio said this is just a start. "We're going to continue to work on this issue," he said. "This is not going to go away."

UPDATE: Senate President Ken Pruitt sent members a memo outlining the schedule for property taxes, with the legislation to be distributed Friday and lawmakers returning Monday for discussion. Read it here.

Photo: AP

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 11:19am]


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