Hallandale Beach Blog -A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt., public policy, sports scene and pop culture of the U.S., South Florida and Europe, especially the UK and Sweden. In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura. Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Pictured in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A; September 2008 photo by me, South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Gov. Charlie Crist in Hollywood, supporting Amendment One


South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com
In Hollywood, Crist pushes tax cut; critics protest
School officials and firefighters, however, among proposal's critics

By Scott Wyman and John Holland
January 8, 2008

Supporters of the tax proposal on this month's ballot clashed with police officers, firefighters and educators Monday over whether the measure would bring meaningful property tax relief or deeply hurt public services.

Schools as well as police and fire protection would be hurt if voters order tax cuts, according to the government officials who addressed a crowd of about 100 gathered for a forum on the ballot initiative at Hallandale High School on Monday night.

Earlier in the day, Gov. Charlie Crist and dozens of real-estate agents descended on a west Hollywood neighborhood in a carefully scripted rally backing the amendment.

"This may not go as far as some would like, and it does more than others want, but if you want your property taxes cut, then vote yes on Amendment One," Crist told the gathering, made up almost exclusively of supporters bussed in for the event.
"It is that simple."

But Broward County schools Superintendent Jim Notter said the initiative could cost 1,200 jobs.

And Plantation Police Chief Larry Massey, who heads the Broward County police chiefs association, said fewer officers are now on the street because of an initial round of tax cuts that the Legislature required last fall.

He warned the proposal on the Jan. 29 ballot would reduce protection further.

"This is not the time to take police officers off the street," Massey said during the forum sponsored by the Broward League of Cities.

The proposed constitutional amendment doubles the homestead exemption on all but school taxes and allows people to take their tax breaks with them when they move.

The increase in the homestead exemption would save the average Broward homeowner an estimated $308.

State economists estimate that governments in Broward would lose $1.4 billion in revenue over the next five years if the tax proposal passes.

Schools would lose $144 million, with the county, cities and special service districts shouldering the rest of the burden.

Government officials say public safety will have to be cut because police and fire service often comprise half of city budgets.

And while the increase in homestead exemption would not affect the school system, projections are that it will lose revenue because of portability.

"Don't necessarily do the popular thing, do the responsible thing," said John McNamara, a Sunrise firefighter who spoke for the area's firefighters association.

Notter said the school district favors tax reform, but that the state should do it in a way that does not harm education.

He said the school district's costs have increased because of health insurance, property insurance and fuel prices.

"Amendment One does not meet the basic, fundamental test of reasonable, responsible tax reform," he said.

Advocates of the tax package said that while it is not perfect, it is a start.

Property Appraiser Lori Parrish and the head of the Realtors Association of Greater Fort Lauderdale said the proposal will provide a boost to an otherwise stagnant real estate market.

"We are hurting in the Broward economy and in the Florida economy, and we need tax relief," said Richard Barkett of the Realtors Association.

Crist's event was held at the home of Teresa and Anselmo Bonilla, who bought their home on the 6400 block of Coolidge Street in 2004 but would like to downsize to save money.

Anselmo Bonilla said the family can't afford to move because buying another home would raise their property taxes.

Most of the legislation is directed at homeowners even though there is a cut proposed in the tax on business equipment and a cap of 10 percent on how much the tax value of commercial and non-homesteaded residential property can increase each year.

Scott Wyman can be reached at swyman@sun-sentinel.com or 954-356-4511.
Copyright © 2008, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Broward County: Town Hall forums to focus on proposed tax changes
January 6, 2008

The Broward League of Cities will host two Town Hall forums this week on the proposed property tax amendment on the Jan. 29 ballot.

The first will be at 7 p.m. Monday at Hallandale High School, 720 NW Ninth Ave.

The second is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at Coral Springs Center for the Arts, 2855 Coral Springs Drive.

The meetings are intended to provide voters with information on the ballot measure, how property taxes are calculated, and how the measure will impact homeowners if it passes.

Among local officials who will be attending are Broward County Property Appraiser Lori Parrish; Interim County Administrator Bertha Henry and Schools Superintendent Jim Notter. For information, call 954-357-7370.
Copyright © 2008, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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