The PalmBeachPost.com had a new opinion piece on the state of the Florida Property Tax reforms as they stand in news releases coming directly from Tallahassee, Florida.
Here is a link to the article...Property-tax plans cut off from reality.
In this article - Glenn Henderson writes that everyone has lost their mind and that the House and Senate have proposed a scenario which would basically be the end of all state, county and city programs, jobs and infrastructure.
- What has not been recognized is that there are duplicate services and functions of governments all over the State that WILL need to be cut.
- What Mr. Henderson has also failed to recognize is that there is a LOT of fluff at the local level that really isn't the State's responsibility to fund.
What Mr. Henderson has seemed to downright ignore is that we are NOT a Socialist Government! We are a REPUBLIC and the Federal and State Governments need to be more lean for us to spend our monies in the RIGHT PLACES.
- What difference would it make if we did not cut taxes so that we have the monies for Port St Lucie, Florida to institute Juvenile Justice programs if the Juveniles' families can no longer afford to live in Florida anyway??
- What difference would it make if Martin County got the State funded Aquatics complex if no one could afford to live there and to swim!
- Who would care if the gas stations along major arteries have hurricane generators if no one lives here that needs that gas??
- A form of Government where the Federal Government provides certain services such as Law Making, Military and Foreign Relations and passes other monies and functions down to the State Governments. The monies come from Federal Taxes.
- State Governments have to take care of the State as a Whole and send representation in the form of 2 Senators back to the Federal Government's Senate. The State provides monies and services for Statewide programs... the best current example is State of Emergency services for wildfire fighting and rebuilding the eroded beaches from Sub-Tropical Storm Andrea. Without the rebuilt beaches, the STATE is susceptible to widespread damage from a major Hurricane in the upcoming Hurricane Season. The State must have its own tax system to fund such programs where Federal Monies don't fill in. This is where the vast majority of our property taxes go since we have no State Income Tax
- County Governments... in our case, Counties really have a lot of authority. They offer Sheriff services, land development services, parks, schools etc. Rich counties and poor counties are supposed to be getting equitable tax monies from the state so that all citizens get fair services.
- City Governments... the trickle down has slowed a lot at this point. Cities are supposed to govern only the most local needs of a city/township. Things like very local development plans, very local law enforcement and planning inside of the bounds of the County's master plan.
- Local Governments... these are the lowest form but serve the most specific needs. They can be community associations or minor municipalities. They can be just a citizen formed group that creates a Political Action Committee to represent a demographic area with a unified voice.
Under this structure... it is OBVIOUS that TAX CUTS will hurt the lowest common denominator if those upstream don't trim their fat as well.
Where the journalist falls off the horse altogether is:
Even crazier is the fact that the real estate market is taking care of itself, coming back down to the point tax bills will ease up on their own - without government doing a thing.
Ummm... don't we understand that the property tax issue is NOT self correcting like the market? Don't we see that a lot of the reasons the market is in the shape it is would be because of the tax issues? A lot of the people that are running for the hills are doing so because taxes are so high. Reassessing all the property values to bring down taxes is actually something wrapped up in these bills!
I think the State is at a crossroads... they MUST do something... and nothing will ever come without criticism.
The issue that rests on their shoulders right now is this:
- Cities and Counties had HUGE budgets over the past few years... they got spoiled.
- There was huge growth in city and county jobs... people got on board to easy money
- Everyone had the money they needed to fund street art and raise salaries to all city and county employees
- There was a lot of WASTE and important projects were put off
- Important projects are now possibly going to miss funding requests
SURE - the state has to cut the fat. But the Cities and Counties will just have to do the same.
The news is blasting that there were 12,000 jobs lost last quarter in South Florida.... well... why don't they compare that to how many people got their real estate licenses and now are filing for unemployment? Why don't they compare that to the number of developers that moved down here, hired sales teams and left Dodge.
In my eyes smaller government is better. We don't need a Minister of Sidewalk Number Painting getting $60,000 a year that will buy a police car, or books for a school, or a van for a hospice facility.
We do need our taxes to come down... if they don't then there will be a lot of employed people in foreclosure looking at some nicely painted curbsides.
David A. Podgursky, MBA
The Mortgage Go To Guy
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