Careful what you wish for

Oh, those crafty politicians with their tax-hiking tax cuts.

With Miami-Dade County commissioners accepting the mayor and manager's budget last month, taxpayers will be able to see the result in black and white on their tax bills.

What they probably didn't see: the political deal-making between commissioners and administrators that resulted in a final budget accord.

That balancing act modestly reduced tax bills for most homeowners thanks to the doubling of the homestead exemption -- while actually raising overall tax rates. It also allowed politicians to say they cut tax bills when actually they raised rates.
I have to say that, as an opponent of the tax cut Amendment that passed so overwhelmingly last year, I applaud this bit of petard-hoisting by the Miami-Dade commissioners. The reality of our modern society is that taxes are the dues we pay for a stable society. Now in this state, the citizens decided a while back that they didn't want an income tax, which means that property owners get to carry a larger part of the burden. If anyone wants to vote on trading a lower property tax rate for a modest income tax, I'm on your side. I'll advocate for it happily, even though it would affect me adversely as a non-property-owner, because it's usually the least regressive form of taxation. (I'll fight you tooth and nail on pushing it into sales tax, though, because that's the most regressive.)

So the Miami-Dade commissioners came up with a compromise--raise the rate, but also raise the homestead exemeption, which means most working- and middle-class people who own homes will see a reduction in the amount they pay--at least for the present--and the wealthier will pay a little more. I can live with that.

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