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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

PolitiFact: Did the Legislature provide $428M in tax relief?



The Florida Legislature cobbled together a tax cut plan to close its session last week in part by reducing the rate of property taxes and using money from the state to make up the difference.

Joshua Gillin of PolitiFact Florida delved into one claim in particular by Sen. Don Gaetz -- namely, that lawmakers were able to provide "$428 million worth of property tax relief."

Here's an excerpt:

The Florida Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott didn't see eye-to-eye on much during the 2016 session, but they both acknowledged education spending should go up. Even then, however, they couldn't agree on how to do it.

Scott wanted to pay for it almost entirely by increasing a share of property taxes known as the Required Local Effort. Legislators balked at that idea, especially in the Senate, because they didn't want homeowners to bear most of the burden by paying more in taxes.

After several rounds of negotiation, the House and Senate settled on a solution of reducing the rate of property taxes and supplementing spending with more money from state coffers. They passed their compromise as part of the overall budget on March 11, 2016.

"You can go home and say that under President (Andy) Gardiner, we were able to provide $428 million worth of property tax relief," Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, said on the Senate floor.

That's a hefty tax break while boosting the education budget by almost half a billion dollars. We wondered whether the math added up the way Gaetz and other lawmakers said it did. It turns out the state did chip in an extra $428 million to keep property tax bills from going up, but it's a pretty wonky process.

Read more here

[Last modified: Friday, March 18, 2016 10:33am]


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