property taxes

Some Florida communities have seen a significant increase in their tax rolls by rooting out fraudulent homestead exemption claims. But Leon County Property Appraiser Akin  Akinyemi says he doesn’t think a local fraud audit is needed.

Illinois Network of Charter Schools

The Florida Senate has rolled out a plan its education budget chairman says is aimed at creating parity between state and local funding for school districts. The move sets up a potential showdown on tax cuts.

Rep. Bob Cortes (R-Maitland) is hoping to stamp out homestead fraud.
David Sawyer via Flickr

Education is set for a funding boost as the legislature rolls ahead with its budget planning. But as the process moves along, some Republicans are expressing concerns about where the increase will come from.

Property taxes for homeowners and businesses could be heading to a ballot near you. The Republican-led legislature is looking to tighten the state’s homestead amendment and extend some tax cuts given to manufacturers.

Doug Will running through a hypothetical roll back rate structure.
Nick Evans

A South Florida lawmaker wants to alter the way property taxes are calculated.  The plan is aimed at making revisions more transparent.

Commissioner Ziffer
City of Tallahassee

The Tallahassee City Commission meets this afternoon to discuss a nearly $18 million budget surplus, and how to spend it. The money has emerged after the commission approved a 13 percent increase in the city’s portion of property taxes earlier this year.

The renovated Douglas House as it is now.
Nick Evans

Part of Tallahassee’s  effort to fight what government leaders are calling “shocking” crime statistics includes hiring more police officers. But to do that, the city commission is proposing higher property taxes.

City of Tallahassee

City property taxes are slated to go up next year, but not by as much as city officials had originally proposed. The new millage rate is a 23 percent increase over last year.

A property tax amendment on the upcoming Florida ballot is drawing opposition from local government leaders in Leon County. But the Florida Realtors Association and others are touting the measure, Amendment Four, as an economy booster.

If passed, Amendment Four would change the way local governments are allowed to assess property-taxes, in several ways. And those complex changes have Tallahassee Mayor John Marks worried.

“The explanation is 17 pages long. That, in and of itself, should send a signal," he said on Thursday.

The short version is this:

The Leon County Commission will hold a public hearing Tuesday at 6 pm on a plan to raise property taxes, but according to a new survey, more than 60 percent of the county’s homeowners are against the proposal.

"People feel as if their property taxes have not come down commensurate with the decrease in their property values," says Phillip Downs with the Kerr-Downs Research group. 

Downs conducted the poll along with WCTV as part of the latest TallahasseeVoices survey.  

According to Downs, Leon County citizens oppose the increase by a 2-to-1 margin.

The Florida Supreme Court is considering whether out-of-state residents can qualify for the state’s property tax exemptions if they have dependents permanently living in their Florida homes. Lynn Hatter reports the case stems from a dispute over whether a couple from Honduras could receive an exemption because their children are U.S. Citizens.

Capital Report: 02-20-2012

Feb 20, 2012

Today’s (Monday’s) meeting of the Florida Senate Judiciary Committee began peacefully enough.  But Tom Flanigan reports things quickly turned tense when members began debating a bill that would change the state’s laws governing foreclosure….

A bill to shield public schools from lawsuits when groups use their facilities after hours is making its way through the legislature. Lynn Hatter reports the proposal has had an easy ride through most of its committee stops, and faces little resistance. 

Tampa Senator Jim Norman says if you give your life serving your community or country then your spouse deserves a tax break.  His idea dates to the start of the Iraq war. Then Norman was a member of the Hillsborough County Commission.

Norman: "When the war in Iraq started we as the Hillsborough County Commission adopted two thousand soldiers that served in combat zones. We later adopted the families of surviving spouses, 33 soldiers came back after they were killed in service. What this does is take that wonderful program, it takes it statewide."

The House Economic Affairs committee has passed out several bills to help ease the price tag on Florida homeowners. Lynn Hatter reports included in the list of bills heard includes a plan to reform the state’s largest property tax insurer, provide some additional tax breaks, and change the way foreclosures are handled in the courts.

Lawmakers killed a proposal to amend the state constitution to cut property taxes. Regan McCarthy reports legislators say property tax reform is warranted, but worry about the impact the proposal could have had on local governments.

Representative Jason Brodeur, a Republican from Sanford, says his bill was intended to cut down on the inequities in the state’s property taxes—It’s a move Representative Charles Van Zant, a Keystone Heights Republican, says is sorely needed.

WFSU

A class-action lawsuit has been announced against the state’s largest property insurer. Citizen’s is being accused of artificially raising home values in order to charge higher premiums. Lynn Hatter reports a group called the Florida Association for  Insurance Reform, or FAIR, is backing the lawsuit.

The shortfall within the trust fund that supports public school construction projects is so great, that Governor Rick Scott has called on school districts, colleges and universities to give back unspent money from previous years. But as Lynn Hatter reports, there’s a plan afoot in the Florida legislature that could help shore up the fund, and create a dedicated funding source for future building plans.

Florida lawmakers are proposing several new constitutional amendments that would give some Florida residents a break on their property taxes. Regan McCarthy reports one measure would freeze the property taxes of low income seniors.