Caveat Emptor and the Random Ten
The headline pretty much says it all: Broward tax notices bring little relief for some property owners. Last year, during the governor's race, the talk was all about property tax relief, and the question wasn't whether there would be a tax cut, but what form it would take. Well, it's here, and it doesn't look like much of a break at all for a lot of homeowners. (Side question--why are we facing such a huge budget deficit this year then?)
Under the legislation that Gov. Charlie Crist signed this summer, local governments must roll back their tax rates. The size of the cuts depends on how much extra revenue they reaped during Florida's real estate boom, but the average savings for homeowners statewide is expected to be $174.
That's a pesky word, average. Not really good for describing the effect on a wide range of people. Better way to look at it is median.
Despite the state legislation, taxes are not necessarily going down.
Some cities, including Lauderdale Lakes, North Lauderdale and Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, are considering invoking an opt-out clause in the tax-relief plan. By a super-majority vote of their governing boards, they can ignore the required cutbacks.
And while the state Legislature cut taxes to be paid to cities and counties, it increased property taxes that pay for public schools — about a third of most tax bills. Also, some governments are increasing other fees, including the assessment for fire protection.
I'm shocked. Shocked! that a cut in taxes in one area is driving up fees in another, especially in a period of economic downturn. Property owners were loving it when the values of their houses were jumping 20-30% a year, as they were at the height of the boom, but now that they're stuck with a house that's "worth" more than it should be in any reasonable market, they're complaining about the ancillary costs, i.e. the taxes.
The problem, I've said before, wasn't so much the tax rate as it was the market. The market is sorting itself out, and so should the tax situation. But it's going to sting a lot of people in the meantime. The time to ask about this sort of stuff, by the way, was back in 2006. Vague promises about tax relief do no one any good.
Here's the Random Ten. Put your computer's music program on random, hit play, and record the next ten songs to pop up. Even if it's leftover Stryper for that mix cd you made for your ex after you split up. Here we go.
1. Wayfaring Stranger--Neko Case
2. The Way You Move--Outkast
3. In Your Own Sweet Way--Dave Brubeck
4. You Turn the Screws--Cake
5. Just Like a Gillian Welch Song--Split Lip Rayfield
6. This Modern Love--Bloc Party
7. Sweet Home Chicago--Eric Clapton
8. Long Letter--Lifesavas
9. Hang On--Teenage Fanclub
10. The Days of Forty-Nine--Spider John Koerner
So what are you listening to?