Thursday, January 24, 2008

Vote x on One?

With 5 days left until the election, I find myself with quite a few questions and not a lot of answers. As a registered voter with no party affiliation, I have exactly one issue to vote on; the dreaded property tax reform.
On one side, some relief is better than no relief. However the estimated $240 dollars in savings does little to relieve the 50% increase that I received this year. As opposed to other states, Florida does not have unreasonable tax rates, but when I've paid taxes this high in other states, I received much more for my dollar than I do here.
Another side is that this is only a state initiative, with local governments free to raise taxes, as necessary. So, is there really a fix here?
Side 3 is that this is merely a shift in the tax burden from home owners to businesses and renters, as well as non-homesteaded property. Along with the added tax burden for businesses, non-homesteaded snow birds add quite a bit of money to the state's coffers as it is, with higher taxes on
them, the option of owning a seasonal home here might go away - reducing tourism revenue.
But, is this our one shot? Is this the best that the state has to offer? If this is voted down, is it a signal to get back to the drawing board and give us something real, or is it a sign that we don't want this at all?
I'm quite undecided, what do you all think?


Tampa I Am said...

If it gets voted down, they MUST bring something back to the public for the November election. Thee are already several ideas floating around...this is not worth it, we need to let them know that by voting 'no' and see something better in November. If it passes, we are stick with it for who knows how long...

IFly said...

Amendment one is nothing more than a haphazard maneuver, so they appear to be doing "something." We the people should hold our elected officials accountable for real reform not settle for a pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey effort that gives them an excuse to say they tried.

rfifer said...

Looking at the fact that the legislature opposed Save Our Homes when it went on the ballot (as a citizen initiative), I doubt a no vote will lead to something better. Mal the additional exemption should amount to more than $240, unless you assessed value is under 75k. The portability option will make down sizing or up sizing less of a crap shoot. It is not perfect by any stretch but politics is the art of the possible and this is likely what is possible at this point. The other thing is it DOES cap the increases to non-homestead properties.


IFly said...

To merely settle for the table scraps our elected officials are willing to give us is defeatist. Why is it so easily forgotten that they work for we the citizens? Voting for Amendment 1 is as if the electorate is Oliver Twist, cowering before the master, begging "Please sir, I want some more."

LiberalDem said...

Vote NO. Even if this were the ideal fix to the property tax issue (which it is most decidedly not,) ammending the constitution is a TERRIBLE way to accomplish what should be handled legislatively. If conditions were to change in ten years, the new tax structure couldn't adjust. We'd have to ammend the constitution again, even if we only wanted to increase the exemption or revise the portability. It's bad public policy to change the rules of the game to accomplish a short term goal. Vote it down!

Mal Carne said...

Ah yes, I forgot to list that part. Oregon had a ballot initiative process that was well intentioned, but all measures approved by that process would ammend the constitution. Consequently, I had to vote no on every one of the initiatives that came about while I lived there - banning the use of dogs in bear and mountain lion hunting is a good thing, but it has no place in the constitution.

I'm leaning towards a NO vote, for the constitutional issue, and for the half-baked "here, at least we did something" aspect of this.

Thanks for your input.

Rick Fifer said...

Save Our Homes was an ammendment to the constitution. Is it the best place to handle initiatives? no. But part of the reason initiatives end up in constitutions is because it is the only way to keep legislatures from changing the will of the voters during the next session. The progressive reformers that put initiative options in state constitutions a 100 years ago was because like now it was the way to sidestep the powerful interests.
As to fixing the property tax issue. Since the referenda/initiative process can only be single issue. A single referendum can not be put together to fix the tax system. To fix that it would take action by either the legislature or the Taxation Reform Commission. The taxation commssion isn't proposing a comprehisive reform for November. That same commission is putting forth a proposal that would remove the constitutional ban on using public funds to support religious and sectarian organizations with public dollars.

Just to further twist the logic. Ammendment One goes down to defeat and the legislature come November gains the authority to support religious and sectarian organization with those public funds. Oh won't that be a happy day?

So I again say Vote yes on 1. Let the local governments have to ask us the taxpayers if they need more money for ESSENTIAL services. That is what they should have had to do all along instead of the back door tax increases.

Rick Fifer said...

someday I will learn to spell "amendment" without spell check

Rick Fifer said...

one of the point I note in my own blog, is that you can't change something that is already in the constitution any other way that by amending the constitution. Mal, just something to think about.

SSHeights said...

Liberals hate it, unions hate it, and teachers hate it, it must be good-

Vote YES!