We all know real estates taxes are through the roof and causing a financial hardship for many. The high taxes are forcing many to sell their homes and businesses and leave the state. This is a crisis like we have never seen in this state.
The latest idea of raising the sales tax and abolishing real estate taxes is a great start and has a lot of merit. It would give a tremendous lift to the housing sector and related industries throughout the state. That said, I think it is a dangerous step to eliminate all real estate taxes right out of the box. Knee jerk reactions always come home to roost!
An alternative would be as follows. Reduce real estate tax levels to the year 2000 on all properties, ex: residential, commercial, second homes, etc. All real estate is an integral part of our economy. Then raise the state sales tax one percent across the board. We also need to cap all government spending at their present levels. We need to cancel all special "feel good" projects, ex: fountains, fancy landscaping, etc., etc. This savings can be used to offset any inflation the government incurs for health insurance, etc. This should be accomplished in the next legislative session.
Most important, we should keep the lobbyists, consultants and special interest people out of the picture. This is about the citizens of Florida and not corporate America!
This idea helps everyone. It provides immediate and substantial relief to anyone who owns real estate. The government, local and state, will still receive substantial revenue with which we fund the government without cutting services. The sales tax increase will make up for the cut in real estate taxes.
This will give us time to sit back and take a collective breath and figure out how to make the fix permanent.
Just thinking out loud.
Ric Cornelius is the Broker/Manager of Sand Key Realty Sales and Rentals, Inc. Sand Key Realty has three offices with 40 agents. One office is at 740 S. Gulfview Blvd., Clearwater Beach, 727-443-0032; the second office is at 2701 Gulf Blvd., Indian Rocks Beach, 727-595-5441; and the third office is at 309 Belleview Blvd., Belleair, 727-461-4200.
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