Real estate tax form targets for Florida budget cuts

Mar 6, 2008

South Florida Sun-Sentinel--Mar. 6, 2008

Speaker Marco Rubio and other Republican House leaders held a news conference Wednesday to champion the introduction of a bill to save the state $11.5 million in the first year by eliminating a real estate tax form.

But such savings would be paltry compared with more than $2 billion that legislators might need to cut in the state’s next annual budget because of tax shortfalls.

The Republican leaders said they are looking to slash spending one snip at a time and that it’s the first of many unnecessary expenses they are looking to cut.

"I didn’t say we were going to balance the budget off of this," said Rubio, R- West Miami. "We should do this whether the budget’s good or bad, OK? My point was that in years when the money overflows, in the years of milk and honey, no one looks at these things."

Rubio said the form, DR-219, has outlived its usefulness because state revenue officials now can obtain the same information electronically.

Surrounded by boxes of forms, Rep. Frank Attkisson, R- St. Cloud, said it costs the state $175,000 a year just to store them. Attkisson is chairman of the House Government Efficiency and Accountability Council, which unanimously voted to introduce a bill to do away with the forms earlier Wednesday.