Florida's top legislative leaders may have an agreement on priorities for property tax relief, but it was clear Wednesday not all of the bay area state lawmakers share them.
In a meeting with Pinellas County's mayors, the local delegation agreed that the people hurt most by the recent runup in property values - business and investment property owners - need relief more than homesteaded property owners.
But so far legislative plans have focused mostly on homesteaded homeowners. Detailed plans are expected by the end of this week for a special legislative session beginning Tuesday, but some key leaders wondered if Wednesday's meeting would make a difference.
"It was a pretty good dialogue and in keeping open the lines of communication, but I'm afraid it won't have a tremendous impact," said Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard, president of the Pinellas County Mayors' Council, which called the meeting.
The meeting, in Clearwater's Main Library, comes as lawmakers look to sharply cut the amount of property taxes local governments can collect.
The meeting drew most of Pinellas' 12-member legislative delegation and the majority of its 24 mayors and was cordial, but several mayors complained about state leaders' allegations that they've been overspending.
Further, they said, key departments - police, fire and recreation - will be affected. Libraries will close and employees will lose jobs, they said.
"The people who choose to live in our communities come because of the amenities they get and (the Legislature) is taking their choices away from them," said Largo Mayor Pat Gerard.
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker offered another proposal: roll back nonhomesteaded property values two years and adopt an 8 percent cap increase, a plan similar to what Nevada did in 2004.