Vets' tax exemption
When the Combat Disabled Vet Tax Exemption was approved by voters, it was not known how much this would cost local governments. How much of Pinellas County's and local municipalities tax roll was diminished by this exemption for service-connected combat veterans for the coming year?
We turned to Pinellas County property appraiser Pam Dubov for help with this question. Her reply:
"As of (early September), we have 636 veterans who have applied for and been granted the discount from property taxes.
"This is not an exemption, but a discount. For that reason the dollar value removed from the tax roll varies by taxing authority because a taxpayer can have up to three different taxable values depending on which exemptions they have. Not all exemptions apply to all taxing authorities.
"The total property value removed from the tax roll countywide is $25,067,122. This represents less than 0.04 percent (four-hundredths of one percent — not 4 percent) of the just market value in the county and less than 0.05 percent of the taxable value in the county. The number was a little larger for the School Board because the second homestead exemption created in 2008 does not apply for school tax purposes.
"I estimate a revenue impact of about $550,000 for all taxing authorities combined based on a typical tax rate of about 2.2 percent. This is not an exact number because the aggregate tax rate varies from district to district.
"I believe that Pinellas County has one of the highest (probably the highest) number of recipients in the state because we made an effort to identify and contact potential qualifying applicants based on data gathered from existing veteran disability property tax exemptions."
Not 'van go'
I always thought Vincent Van Gogh's name was pronounced "van go." Then I heard a story on TV recently and the reporter was saying it differently. What is the correct pronunciation?
According to the Vincent Van Gogh Gallery website (http://vggallery.com): "The 'Van' is a bit like 'Fen' with the V sounding like a half V and half F. The 'a' isn't quite like a short 'e,' but it's softer than North Americans pronounce it.
"The Gogh ... The first G sounds a bit like a guttural H, the 'o' sound stays the same pretty much the same (but not as harsh sounding as the 'o' in 'go') and the final GH is sort of like a guttural CH, like in the name Johann Sebastian Bach."
The website also has sound files in two formats with pronunciations:
Compiled from Times and wire reports. To submit a question, email firstname.lastname@example.org.