Sunday, July 27, 2008

Surprise, surprise

Here we go, again. After the passage of Amendment One, the property tax relief bill supported by the Florida Association of Realtors among others, there was wide speculation that individual cities and counties would increase millage rates to make up for the lost revenue. Orlando appears to be among the first to float that idea. In last Tuesday's Council meeting the majority of members stated their support for a 21% increase in the millage rate to make up for the $30 million budget gap that resulted from the passage of Amendment 1. Most of us who opposed Amendment 1 did so because we doubted the willingness or ability of the bureaucracy to reduce spending and expected offsetting higher millage rates in the wake of successful passage. I don't have a solution but slashing taxes at the state level without a solution for replacing the revenue doesn't seem well thought out.

Now, the same groups are pushing for support of Amendment 5 or, as they are calling it, "Amendment 1 on steroids". As before, the Florida Association of Realtors supports slashing property taxes because they believe that will increase sales activity, which is, naturally, their primary concern. And, as before, they have no solution for replacing the lost revenue other than a one cent increase in the sales tax which will still leave an $8 billion with a "B" shortfall. As a dues paying member of both the Florida Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors, I am embarrassed by their wasteful, self-serving campaigns ranging from NAR spending $30 million in 2006 and 2007 to tell the public that "Now is a great time to buy" and the current $1 million campaign by FAR to entice the public into supporting a bill that is likely to backfire just like Amendment 1 is now beginning to do. For the record, if it's not clear from the above, I oppose this half-baked idea to reduce property taxes. I support lower taxes but this just ain't the solution.

"Prices have stabilized and are starting to rise."
___November 2006 - National Association of Realtors ad, NY Times

"I triple guarantee you, there are no American soldiers in Baghdad."