Proposed House Plan Could Eliminate Property Taxes

By: Heather Waliga Email
By: Heather Waliga Email

House republicans are discussing ways to reduce property taxes.

One of the plans would be to eliminate property taxes altogether, in favor of a higher sales tax.

The proposal would do away with taxes on primary residents and bump the sales tax to 9 percent, 3 cents higher than it is right now.

Each cent increase will generate about $3.75 billion dollars, but that could backfire on supporters.

The higher sales tax could force people to do shop in other states. And, there are concerns about rural counties that lose retail dollars to other larger neighboring counties.

The proposal would also cut the amount of money the state deeds back to cities, counties, and school districts.

Bay County Property Appraiser Rick Barnett says he doesn't think the plan would fix the problem. “It will cause them to look internally and decide if these programs work, and do the people want to pay more taxes of any sort, sales tax, Florida income tax or property tax. I don't think they do."

This isn't the last we'll hear about lower property taxes.

Governor Charlie Crist wants a plan from the legislature during the regular session beginning in March.

He’s advocating a number of ideas, including doubling the homestead exemption write-off to $50,000 dollars.

A change in the property tax structure would require a constitutional amendment.

Crist says he'd like to see a special election by this fall.

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