Property tax cuts


A couple of the questions below are basic to the matter of property tax cuts: What can we do, and why give the opportunity for everyone to be educated in a quality public school? The latter has been discussed for decades, the former is more specific to our current situation with property tax cuts.

Feel free to add your own ideas, links, resources on this page or under discussion. Just click 'Edit This Page' above or the link for discussion. Add your name or Yahoo! ID for communication purposes if you would like. Thank you.

Contents of this page

What can we do?
Why give everyone the opportunity to be educated in quality public schools?
Con: Find positive, education revenue solutions
Pro: The Fleecing of Florida with Property Taxes
Links
Research

What can we do?

Gandhi wrote that change occurs when there is sufficient truth force (satyagraha) behind the change. (ozequeira)
"I never like to feel resourceless; a satyagrahi (practicioner of truth force) never should. Fasting is his last resort in the place of the sword - his or other's (M.K. Gandhi, Delhi Diary, 12th January 1948)."

Two ideas from MoveOn.org's 50 Ways to Love Your Country
  • Voter registration drive in renter communities like Little Havana. These are the people most likely to be negatively impacted by this proposal. Nevertheless, MoveOn.org's 50 Ways to Love Your Country recommends that, in such a voter registration drive, you put out the information and let the new voters decide (ozequeira).
  • Organize voter turnout in a precinct.

Why give the opportunity for everyone to be educated in quality public schools?


Gandhi wrote that education is a moral imperative. When you educate people, you raise them socially and spiritually. (ozequeira)

Public schools must be available to everyone because we must have a say as a community in the education of our children. Our schools have Parent / Teacher / Student Associations, and Education Excellence committees to ensure that. (ozequeira)

The education of our children should not be turned over to corporations, which by definition are accountable to their investors first, and have less accountability to the public. (ozequeira)


Con: Find positive, education revenue solutions


Ex. Amendment 1 (Click here for Vote Smart Florida, a website with text of the amendment)

The state is being hypocritical. It is forcing local governments to cut taxes so that it can claim that it is cutting taxes. (ozequeira)

The state cuts other governments' taxes, but fails to address matters like health or property insurance, the latter of which is at least as expensive for many of us as are property taxes. They're throwing the dogs (us) a bone and letting us fight for the scraps. (ozequeira)

The state is also attempting to extend its control over local government and school boards by cutting property taxes on the state level. One of the strengths of American education, according to Berliner & Biddle in The Manufactured Crisis, is these local school boards that the state is trying to squeeze. (ozequeira)

Some advocates of Amendment 1 are looking to the state to fix problems with local government. The same state government that fleeced us all with a tax on the poor called the Florida Lottery? If people want local government fixed, they should go directly to the root of the problem, their local government. (ozequeira)

It seems that people may have legitimate concerns about local government spending. My brother, who lived in Connecticut for many years, pays $6,500 more on local taxes here than up north, and finds that service is worse. Nevertheless, the problem needs to be fixed here. (ozequeira)

Classic divide and conquer strategy. The people that will be hurt most are low-income families who do not own property and will face fewer services and less money for the public schools. Middle class homeowners are being turned against low income people with the offer of these tax cuts. (ozequeira)

Florida’s tax structure needs to be revamped. (ozequeira)

Property taxes, like sales taxes, are flat taxes. Both taxes hurt low income people more than they do higher income people. Sales taxes make it more difficult for low income people to buy basic needs, while property taxes make it more difficult for them to purchase homes. (ozequeira)

Over the past 10 years, we have been cutting taxes for those who can afford them most, major corporations and their board members. (ozequeira)

Look at the results. Look at all the empty condos. I am concerned that instead of paying for education, we have been providing welfare for the rich. (ozequeira)

Howard Zinn, in his book, A People's History of the United States, uses this same phrase, welfare for the rich, in relation to one tactic of local government which passes on costs from the elite to the middle class, millage rates. He cites rates in New York in the 70's, where millage rates in the suburbs were 30%, and in the single digits for large, corporate skyscrapers downtown. Perhaps we need to look at millage rates in Miami to see if they are being handled equitably. (ozequeira)

MDCPS must insist that everyone pay their fair share of education dollars by urging state legislators to adopt a more effective and equitable tax structure for the State of Florida. (ozequeira)

We must look into the intangibles tax on investments which was cut previously, progressive sales and property taxes, or, do I dare say it, a progressive income tax? (ozequeira)

As we are down at the bottom of the 50 states in terms of per capita education spending when compared to individual income, we must find positive, education revenue solutions to our tax structure woes. (ozequeira)

Would affect the quality of schools and health care in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools (ozequeira).

Link
Save our Services-Vote "**NO**" on **Amendment** #**1**


Pro: The Fleecing of Florida with Property Taxes


In looking at a property tax statement you will find from 12 to 13 different public entities (depending on where you live) that “score” a dividend of the total bill. Out of these 12 to 13 categories such as Florida Inland Navigation, South Florida Water Management, Children’s Trust, Library Districts, City of Miami, Fire Rescue, School Board Debt Services, etc, you will find that if you total up all of them except for School Board Operating, they will NOT total up more than this one single public entity: School Board Operating.

In other words, most of our taxes go to School Board Operating.

We are paying more in property taxes than ever before since property taxes have more than doubled since 2005. In addition, MDCPS has received numerous grants for operating programs. But still there is no money, or is there?

A very wise person said, the more you throw into a public bureaucracy, the less they will afford.

So where has the communities’ scarified taxes really gone?

While the community cuts back on their family budgets in order to put off personal bankruptcy, what does MDCPS do with the funds from its exorbitant property taxes:

-Security for Dr. Crew’s offices at $40,000 about 2 years ago and now $3,000 to put in even more security…during which a guard was hired to sit there until it was over.

-School Improvement Zone cost approx. 40 millions to be dismantled now?

-Unknown amounts for marketing campaigns and public relations offices. Who are we selling our “product” to?

-Moving expenses for top administrators…some $8,000, some $5,000, $4,000-without receipts for documentation?

-Overtime for Top Cabinet secretaries $20,000 which already make about $70,000

-No bid contracts to companies that are connected to his friends (one to his son)?

-Changing Textbook and forcing teachers to use them when there were books that had just been purchased.

-Millions spent on redoing Dr. Crew and other board members’ offices.

-Although Dr. Crew says he doesn’t have a body guard, yet he has two police officers assigned to walk him to the bathroom or wherever he is going…has taken sniff dogs to check places where he is going, etc.

-We don’t really know exactly how much Dr. Crew spends in travel expenses, but it must be substantial, because he is cutting back, along with overtime, by about $5 million.

-Same for contracts with outside agencies, Dr. Crew says he will cut back $23 million next year, so once again the figure spent this year must have been substantial.

-Cost of summer school has soared since Dr. Crew arrived.

-The Parent Academy is supposedly funded by outside sources, but those resources could have been put in the classroom, since MDCPS already had the PTA and a Parent Resource Center.

So, is the question, does our District truly have a shortage of funds, or does the district have a cash mismanagement problem at a time when they have collected the highest amount in property taxes ever?

Should the community’s working class which is quickly falling into poverty by loosing their ability to afford their homes and rent, and now those that work in MDCPS will probably loose affordable insurance, continue to foot the bills of outrageous MDCPS spending through outrageous property taxes?

I say absolutely NOT!

Being Middle Class is not a popular place to be now. You are castigated by some for your efforts to not fall into poverty, and you have no support by the government to stay afloat. In this climate of high taxation and high insurance costs Middle Class are only Middle Class on paper, but in reality have NO disposible cash and no subsidized assistance.

It is important to remember that it is a country with a strong middle class that stays strong in the spirit and ideals of democracy as well.

The organizers of the Boston Tea Party knew exactly what they where doing, when they said, “No taxation without representation”, I say “No taxation, without reform”

We cannot continue to allow ourselves to be exploited with property taxes that are “Fleecing Florida”.

That is my own personal opinion. If you share the shame opinon you may want to visit the link below.
www.fairpropertytaxforall.org


Simple Explanation of Property Tax Reform


  • There is a consensus in Reform groups that no progressive tax plans will be used. Therefore no one should fear the extra penny in sales tax. It will not be proposed or approved.

  • Tax Reformists are asking to cap big government spending. We all see it everyday. The unnecessary waste in government that eats up our pockets. We are not after the old lady who needs a bus pass, pulling out perfectly good trees to plant the same type, just to spend the money, we are after eliminating the waste, only the waste.

  • Reformists do not want to feed the growth machine that is causing uncontrolled urban sprawl with our natural resources cannot sustain.

  • Tax Reformists want a 3% cap on ALL properties.

  • Tax Reformists want to keep Save Our Homes.

  • Tax Reformists want to STOP unfunded State mandates to local cities.

Additional Information:

Please note that city funds have increased only from property taxes. No other sources have provided any other increase to their budget funding. This is an inequitable funding of the budget.

Dawn Steward, PTA FL Legislative Chair stated to the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission during their October 2007 meeting that it was the position of PTA that it was time for Property Tax Reform! Her recommendation was to look at reducing tax exemptions for additional funding sources. She stated that Florida PTA has long supported property tax reform. PTA supports Reforming Property Taxes!

Marta Zayas


Links

fairpropertytaxforall.org
Save our Services-Vote "**NO**" on **Amendment** #**1**
Vote Smart Florida: text of the amendment)

Research


**Florida State Statute 193.155 Homestead Assessments**
Wikipedia - Homestead exemption in Florida

Save Our Homes

Google search - Save Our Homes amendment
HeraldTribune.com - Special Report - Save Our Homes
Florida TaxWatch
City of Jacksonville q&a
Lee County q&a

Amendment 1

Google search: florida amendment 1 property tax
Google search: no amendment 1 florida
Google search: yes amendment 1 florida

**Blog - Florida** Property Tax - Proposed **Amendment**
Florida TaxWatch
Real Estate Blog - Florida Property Taxes – Analysis of Amendment #1


St. Petersburg Times

Search - St. Petersburg Times - property tax special session
Results
Tax break for you, tax break for me...
Legislators, go home
Inside the sausage factory

Miami Herald
City of Miami's development boss worked from Virginia
Archives: Require Miami-Dade County Public Schools login and password - Please contact your school librarian
Search - Miami Herald archive - Newsbank - property tax special session
Our opinion - Make tough decisions, focus on the big picture
True change proved elusive (recommended)