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With one week left before Florida’s January 29th elections, tracking polls for both the Property Tax Reform Ammendment and the Presidential Preference Primaries show that the results for all three contests are still very much uncertain, with many Floridians still undecided on the issues and candidates.    

As a part of United Way of Tampa Bay’s Public Policy efforts, we want to keep you up to date on these elections, and provide you with nonpartisan resources to help inform you as you prepare to head to the polls.  

Amendment 1 – Property Tax Reform
View Survey USA’s Tracking poll for Amendment 1 at: http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollTrack.aspx?g=e2f43095-5ec0-46ec-8121-7a6fa5cb3191

VoteSmartFlorida.org – a nonpartisan source on Florida’s constitutional amendment process, has additional information detailing Ammendment 1 at: http://www.votesmartflorida.org/mx/hm.asp?id=home
 
Florida Presidential Preference Primaries
View Quinnipiac University’s poll (as of January 14, 2008) of our state’s Presidential Primary races at:  http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x1297.xml?ReleaseID=1133 
 
Pinellas County voters can view ballot information at:
http://www.voterfocus.com/hosting/pinellas/index.php?id=67

Hillsborough County voters can view ballot information at:
http://www.votehillsborough.org/content.aspx?id=267
 

No matter how you vote, or for whom you cast your ballot, United Way of Tampa Bay encourages you to exercise your right at the polls this January 29th. 

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The Florida Legislature’s Special Session concluded on the evening of June 14th. The result for the average Florida homeowner is a $1,300 annual property tax reduction by the fall of 2008. There are still hurdles to overcome, but if all goes as “planned,” this reform will put significant dollars back into the pocketbooks of citizens. As if often the case, however, in tax reform what individuals may be gaining could result in losses for communities in other areas.

Two measures were passed. The first measure involves statutory reform to how much property tax revenue local governments can collect this coming fiscal year and in future years. Property tax rates are now frozen at last fiscal year levels,  and the legislature is calling for a roll back over time to the frozen rate by a specific percentage for groups of counties and cities. The actual impact will vary from county to county (or city to city). The variance is dependent upon how much a particular county or city increased property tax rates over the past five years (and how this increase positioned them in comparison to the state average for tax rates). In short , counties and cities are being asked to roll back their rates from the FY 2006-2007 levels, by 3%, 5%, 7%, or 9%.

Finally, the statute places a cap on how much local governments can raise property tax rates in future years. Read the rest of this entry »

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