Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Crist backs tax cut on ballot

TALLAHASSEE — For the second time this year, Gov. Charlie Crist is urging Florida voters to approve a controversial property tax cut proposal.

Crist said Monday for the first time that he will work to help pass Amendment 5, which would eliminate most school property taxes, saving property owners at least 25 percent.

But the measure would also require the Legislature to find other funds to replace the lost revenue, including raising the sales tax and possibly closing tax exemptions — a prospect that has drawn opposition from business and education groups.

Before Monday, Crist had offered tepid support for the proposal. During an unusual news conference where reporters watched Crist get a haircut, he said Amendment 5 "could be a significant stimulant to Florida's economy." He plans to meet soon with the proposal's champion, former Senate President John McKay, to discuss his role in promoting its passage.

"If this Amendment 5 were to pass in November, which I hope it does, people will look at that as a lot more than a tweak," Crist said to a question about easing the tax burden on small business owners. "A 25 percent reduction in property taxes, wholesale, across the board … that's more than a tweak, I would think."

The so-called tax swap was placed on the ballot by the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission. McKay, a Bradenton real estate broker, is a Crist appointee to the panel.

McKay's plan has drawn fierce opposition from business groups worried that in addition to the higher sales tax, the proposal carries a future tax hike that could force legislators to tax their services to make up for the loss ($8-billion this year alone) in property taxes used for education.

Opponents have filed a lawsuit seeking to throw Amendment 5 off the ballot. A hearing is set for next week.

Realtors are the only major business group that supports the amendment. Opponents include not just big business groups but the PTA, the Florida School Boards Association, certified public accountants, the Florida Farm Bureau and AARP, among others.

Sen. Mike Haridopolos, R-Melbourne, a leader of the opposition group Protect Florida's Future, said that if the amendment passes it won't provide any tax relief until 2011, the year it is scheduled to take effect.

"I just feel strongly that this would be a tax increase, and it would undercut our schools and it would not be an immediate stimulant," Haridopolos said. "I didn't come to Tallahassee to raise taxes."

Crist's high-profile support for a property tax cut amendment in January, including TV ads and billboards, was credited with helping pass the measure known as Amendment 1. On Monday, he said he has not decided how much time to put into trying to pass Amendment 5, because of his commitment to help Republican presidential candidate John McCain campaign in Florida.

"I hope to be able to be very helpful," Crist said.

Crist invited reporters to watch him get an $11 haircut at a neighborhood barbershop in Tallahassee, one in a series of events following a recent 12-day trade mission to Europe that he says "make sure that we're in touch with what's happening with people."

The Florida Democratic Party mocked the photo-op, calling Crist out of touch "because he doesn't get that Florida's families are suffering under the Republican recession."

Steve Bousquet can be reached at [email protected] or (850) 224-7263.

Crist backs tax cut on ballot 08/04/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 6, 2008 4:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Cubs down Dodgers 3-2; force NLCS Game 5 Thursday

    Ml

    CHICAGO — Javier Baez snapped an 0-for-20 skid with two home runs, former Ray Wade Davis hung on for a six-out save and the Cubs avoided a sweep, holding off the Dodgers 3-2 Wednesday night in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series.

  2. One of the best places for investing in a rental house is in Tampa Bay

    Real Estate

    Two Tampa Bay ZIP Codes are drawing national attention.

    . If you're looking to invest in a house to rent out, few places are better than  ZIP Code 34607 in Hernando County's Spring Hill area, according to ATTOM Data Solutions.
[LANCE ROTHSTEIN   |  Times
 file photo]

  3. Bucs' Vernon Hargreaves: 'I'm not making any plays'

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Eli Manning gathered his receivers together on the sideline during the Giants' Week 4 game against the Bucs and told them he planned to target the weakest link of the secondary all afternoon.

    Patriots receiver Chris Hogan gets position in front of Bucs cornerback Vernon Hargreaves for a 5-yard touchdown pass in New England’s win on Oct. 5.
  4. Suspect in Maryland office park shooting is apprehended

    Nation

    EDGEWOOD, Md. — A man with a lengthy criminal past who was fired from a job earlier this year for punching a colleague showed up for work at a countertop company on Wednesday and shot five of his co-workers has been arrested, authorities said. Three of them were killed and two critically wounded.

    Harford County, Md., Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler shows a picture of Radee Labeeb Prince, the suspect in the workplace shootings.
  5. Lightning's J.T. Brown to stop anthem protest, focus on community involvement

    Lightning Strikes

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Lightning wing J.T. Brown will no longer raise his first as a protest during the national anthem before games.

    J.T. Brown says he will work more with the Tampa police and groups that serve at-risk young people.