Major tax hike may come with next hurricane

Sep 10, 2008

ABC Action News, Tampa--September 9, 2008

Reported by: Don Germaise

MARGATE, FL — A south Florida lawmaker is predicting the largest tax hike in state history if Florida gets hit with a major storm this season.

According to a statement released by Senator Jeremy Ring (D-Margate), "under legislation crafted during last year’s property insurance special session, Florida’s taxpayers could face the largest tax increase ever should a major storm strike the state."
Ring says failing the creation of a national catastrophe fund, a larger financial burden must be shifted back to the insurance industry.

“The challenge to Floridians is that the insurance crisis is larger than simply the state of Florida. The only true fix is a federally created national catastrophic insurance fund,” Ring said. “I’ve always been steadfast that the back-end risk would be the most difficult economic burden from which to recover.”

At issue is the so-called “super CAT fund” created by the Legislature during the January 2007 special session on property insurance. The fund expanded the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund and was intended to lower property owners’ insurance rates by offering insurance companies lower cost reinsurance and the guarantee of the state’s financial resources should a storm of unprecedented magnitude strike the Sunshine State.