22 thoughts on “No on amendment 1 – UPDATED”

  1. Henry,
    I have to admit I have not following this closely, mostly because it does seem to do very little for very few people.
    But, I have heard some people argue that we should vote “yes” and take the minor relief offered, while continuing to work for “real” tax relief.
    Why is this not the way to go?

  2. I’m with Little Gator on this. You’ll never have “real tax reform” unless you can get it on the ballot as an amendment. Take this one. Then start another. Vote Yes.

  3. Isn’t a bird in the hand worth two in the bush?
    I agree that this tax measure is too little and too convuluted to offer much more than minimal relief, but the alternative is zero relief and then waiting for politicians to come up with something better. At the rate they’re going, perhaps my grandchildren will see some meaningful tax reform.

  4. Guys, a bird in hand is not better than two in the bush if the bird in hand a further perpetuation of the scam they have going now. The people that would benefit the most from “portability” of “Save our homes” are the people that are benefiting now: people that have lived in their homes for many years (from before the real estate boom). The tax reform was supposed to help people who have been getting shafted, new homeowners. Under this scheme, they continue to get the shaft because they don’t have any benefit to take with them with “portability”.
    Save our Homes was a terrible idea because it disconnected taxes from property values and attached them instead to length of time the property was owned. It causes two people living next to each other in identical houses to pay two different tax rates. That’s crazy. It’s a pyramid scheme where the cost to be on the lower level of the pyramid increases constantly. This reform allows the people at the top levels of the pyramid to start a new pyramid at a much lower cost than those on the bottom of the original pyramid.
    This is simply kicking the can down the road.
    I’m not going to give Charlie Crist and the State Senate the argument that they delivered tax reform when what they delivered will exacerbate the current mess.
    Vote no.

  5. I beleive the average savings being bandied about that homeowners would receive if this passes is $250 a year. That is not a hell of a whole lot of money, but it’s $250 in my pocket and not in the state government’s pocket. I understand your premise, Henry, that this is not the solution, but I don’t trust the government to ever really propose a fair and correct solution.
    And as far as giving Crist and the senate the argument that they passed a solution, if we vote NO, we then give them the argument hat they provided a solution and the voters rejected it. On that point, they will always spin it to their favor.

  6. $250 may be better than nothing, but it won’t even buy you colada every day for a year. It is indeed another band-aid, and the govt will continue to bandage it up as long as the voters allow it.
    That situation wasn’t born overnight; it took time to grow into the mess it is now. I don’t think you will see any meaningful changes unless the homeowners turn up the pressure and revolt, as they’ve done in my neck of the woods, where they refused to pay any more taxes for schools that aren’t any good when the state had billions in surplus. Take the $250 and spend a portion in lobbying efforts to change the law. Else, throw the bums out — FL keeps putting these clowns in office.

  7. Val,
    You’re in essence advocating for protected classes of people. Why should your parents receive any more consideration from the state than a young couple with kids that’s trapped in an apartment?
    Further perpetuating this fraud doesn’t help the state.
    I voted against the increase in homestead exemption for seniors because we are all taxpayers. The law is supposed to treat us all equally.
    This type of favoritism is what conservatives are supposed to be against.
    Either we believe in markets or we don’t. If it becomes too expensive for a person to live in area, that’s the market’s way of telling people they need to live somewhere else.
    It sounds heartless, but markets work because people look out for their own self interest. Having a bunch of people living in homes they would not normally be able to afford doesn’t help anything.

  8. Alberto,
    It’s not the $250, it’s the portability aspect of this that throws an even bigger monkey wrench into the real estate market.
    Let’s say we have two homeowners living in identical houses worth $300,000 on the market. Now let’s say the assessed value of both homes is $240,000 (80% of market value is typical).
    One guy has lived there for 20 years and is paying taxes on taxable value of $75,000 because of save our homes and the homestead exemption. The other guy has lived in his house for two years, and pays on a taxable value of $215,000.
    That’s the current system in a nutshell. What this new system is going to do is make guy number 1’s taxable value $50,000 (by doubling the Homestead exemption) and guy number 2’s taxable value $195,000. They both got a small break.
    But when they both move to new houses, under the proposed scheme, guy #1 is going to be able to take his 80% below assessed value deal with him. Guy number 2 only gets to take his 20% below assessed value with him. In other words the guy that got the shaft originally will continue to get the shaft and the guy who got to “save his home” continues to benefit disproportionately.
    This is CRAZY, I’m telling you.

  9. Two old ladies vacationing in the Catskills complain about the food. Lady #1, “The food here is terrible.” Lady #2, “Yeah, and the portions are so small.”
    Sure, the current system stinks, but a small break for all involved is better than no break.

  10. ” … a young couple with kids that’s trapped in an apartment?”
    The young couple doesn’t have to stay trapped in that apt. Let them go with the market and move – GA, NC, TN, TX, AZ ….. they can get a house with a yard for their kids. And by the time they finish school, gee, the kids will be able to speak English.

  11. I tend to agree with Henry, although I have been able to take advantage of the Save Our Homes benefit.
    There’s a petition drive going to put an amendment item in the fall 2008 ballot for a 1.35% property tax cap. Under this plan, all property owners would pay no more than 1.35% of their taxable value in property taxes. It does not amend or eliminate current Save our Homes and Homestead Exemptions, so it doesn’t solve the assessed tax value inequalities Henry described.

  12. Gigi,
    Heh! I’m a fan of free and open markets, but I have to admit that it’s sad that South Florida is losing a lot of young, educated people because they can’t get a toehold in the real estate market. What you say is true, but if we want South Florida to be more viable and competitive as a region, we need to solve that problem. Higher wages and a more diversified economy would help, but I have no clue how we accomplish this in the current economic climate we’re in.

  13. Gigi,
    The problem is that the young family CAN afford a house here. They can’t afford the artificially high taxes. I could make the same argument about the old folks. If their property increases in value so much that they can’t afford the real taxes on it (not the artificially lowered ones they pay thanks to Save our Homes) then they should move to other areas.
    In other words let the market work.

  14. I know. I moved for all those reasons ~ couldn’t afford a house or apt. that started at $240k for 1.2 bedrooms. Insane.

  15. Henry:
    I know the current system quite well; it has affected me and my business directly. I also know this system and the proposed reform is unfair, but what are the alternatives? Wait until the Florida legislature comes up with something else? Don’t hold your breath. This, in my humble opinion, is about as much as we’re going to get out of the politicians in the form of a break in property taxes.
    Yes, the portability aspect rewards only a few, but it doesn’t penalize the others anymore than the system in place now.
    Look at it this way: You’re lost at sea with 9 other people on a boat with no engine, no food, and no water. A ship comes by and tells you they only have room for four of you, the rest will have to wait until they get to land and send someone out to get them. Do you tell them to forget it and move on because you’re going to wait until a larger ship arrives?
    I know that is an extreme analogy, but in essence, your argument can be viewed in the same context. I would much rather get this break now, and then start working to modify it so that everyone benefits from it. Rejecting it outright benefits no one. I’d rather help a few now, and work to get the rest help later.

  16. And one more thing: my younger relatives with kids have moved and others are moving in the summer. They take their talents and dreams and enterprise with them, and it’s sad. I moved because there was no future. People in so. FL who haven’t lived elsewhere do not understand that investment and business, along with good standards, is what makes a community great. We don’t really have solid industries or businesses in so. FL that can carry people thru the slump; wages are low and living costs are high. Atlanta has dozens of Fortune 500 companies HQ’d there – so does Houston; they’re not NY or LA, they’re in the South. Why can’t Miami attract that kind of investment? I think it’s because those places have business-friendly environment where companies come in and their employees are happy to live there. I’d like to see something like that happen to so. FL; but what I keep seeing is rotten politicians making it impossible for people to get ahead with their greed for tax money.

  17. Alberto, that rationalization is almost as crazy the problem and the proposed solutions. The fact is that I and hundreds of thousands of others are bleeding profusely. Rewarding the people who haven’t been affected by this scheme while telling the rest of us to wait patiently, is CRAZY.
    It’s not a one time hit. Take a look at the example I posted a few minutes ago. I pay $2,000 more a year in taxes than my neighbor who lives in a better house. In 10 years I will have paid $20,000 more in taxes than him.
    Now you want to reward him by making his benefit portable?
    What about me? What about equal treatment.

  18. “And one more thing: my younger relatives with kids have moved and others are moving in the summer. They take their talents and dreams and enterprise with them, and it’s sad. I moved because there was no future.”
    A good friend of mine recently took his young family to NC for those very reasons. The cost of living here is now the same or more than up north (we just ranked highest in inflation nationally), while salaries remain 10-20% lower. SoFL is no longer as economically friendly to the middle class as it once was.

  19. Jluix: breaks my heart to see what’s going on; haven’t been gone that long, but it’s gotten worse over the past couple of years. It’s not the place where I grew up. My dad used to say that “your house is never really yours” and he was right.
    Let’s hope the homeowners and other voters get with it and get relief soon. I heard a man in Palm Beach county relate that even retirees are moving out — lots of for sale signs in their neighborhoods. The more middle classers leave, the worse it will be for all involved. Tallahassee has no vision for the future that I can see; they need to get off the backs of the taxpayers. The more $$$ in our pockets, the better it is for the economy.

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