Florida property values not as low as was predicted

Jul 31, 2009

Economists said state property values are higher than expected, but tough times are ahead.

Fla. property values to keep dropping, but slower

Florida’s taxable property values will keep dropping for another year but at a slightly slower pace than previously forecast before beginning to rebound in 2011, state economists said Thursday.

The new estimate will mean a smaller decline in property tax dollars than had been expected for local governments and schools if tax rates remain unchanged. However, it still would leave a potential $540 million shortfall in property taxes that go into the state’s public school funding program for the 2010-11 budget year.

The economists estimated taxable property values will drop about 5.6 percent in 2010 to about $1.53 trillion. That’s down a percentage point from the 6.6 percent decline they had forecast earlier this year.

State lawmakers weigh tax hikes as revenues continue to drop

As Florida continues a downward financial spiral, state economists forecast Friday that legislators will have about $3.5 billion less to patch back-to-back budget deficits this year and next.

The new estimates pose a financial and political burden on Gov. Charlie Crist and fellow Republicans who control the Legislature. Lawmakers suspected Crist’s budget proposal, issued last month, was based on overly optimistic numbers.

Now they know they’re right.

Voters to have say on tax plan to help home buyers

The property tax plan voters will decide on next year might save first-time home buyers $1,500 or more, an analysis shows, raising hopes among lawmakers that it could reinvigorate an ailing housing market that is vital to the Florida economy.

Backers of the proposal — held up by Gov. Charlie Crist and legislative leaders Friday as one of the few highlights in a grim session — are counting on the allure of lower tax bills to gain the required 60 percent voter approval in November 2010. The break would apply to anyone who buys a home in 2010, and affect taxes the next year.

”It’s going to turn renters into buyers,” predicted Rep. Carl Domino, the Jupiter Republican who worked on the plan and may try to tweak it next session.

Two new property tax cuts in the offing

Business owners, snowbirds and first-time home buyers could save $1.2 billion over three years if a pair of property tax cut plans are adopted.

But one person’s cut is another’s burden. The same amount would be drained from local government coffers and, officials warn, services would be cut when people need them most.

”In this economy, it’s a dangerous thing to do,” said Miami-Dade Commissioner Katy Sorenson, adding that existing tax cuts helped force a $200 million reduction in the county budget this year.

Florida Legislature set for clash on economic stimulus

With taxes or fees likely to rise and some state services facing the ax, this is a year lawmakers will have little to brag about.

That’s especially true for Republicans, who have controlled the state’s power structure for more than a decade.

Now their core beliefs about government spending and their relationship with their governor, Charlie Crist, are being challenged as never before.