Sizing up the property tax menu
Property taxes continue to cast a shadow over the special session and as the hours tick by, speculation grows over what will emerge. Here are some the proposals in play:
- Clarify the Jan. 29 "super" homestead exemption proposal, which a judge has ruled misleading. Easy to do, perhaps, but the votes may not exist to put it back on the ballot.
- Save Our Homes "portability." Preferred by Gov. Charlie Crist, with strong support in the Senate. But constitutional issues could pose problems.
- Double the $25,000 homestead exemption. Again, preferred by Crist. As a standalone issue, however, it represents mild savings for the average homeowner.
- Modify the statutory rollback and cap. Could be easier than a statewide ballot, as Democratic votes would not be needed. But last session's battle between the Senate and House over how far to go portends a tough road. Another possibility: Making it tougher for local government to break the cap, which many cities and counties already have done.
- Highest and best. Revise an appraisal process that looks at commercial property's greatest value, not only what it is currently used for.
Those are just some of the ideas. The House recently compiled a list of proposals, which you can view here.
"Just about everyone in the world now has a Florida property tax plan," House Speaker Marco Rubio said. "Our job is to just go through this and try to figure out which are the ones that make the most sense."