Friday, April 13, 2007

State Senate set to introduce final tax plan

Front page news -

I read this story in this morning's paper and it seems very interesting. The highlights from the article are:
· Roll back city and county tax rates to 2005-06 levels adjusted for growth in population and income, freeze them for one year and then cap them going forward using the same formula.
·Double the $25,000 homestead exemption for first-time homebuyers until the value of the Save Our Homes cap on taxable value increases reaches the $25,000 level. The exemption only applies to homes valued at $100,000 or more.
· Provide "portability" of the Save Our Homes benefit. Homesteaded property owners who move could take the value of the cap with them, though their initial annual assessments would increase by more than the 3 percent allowed under the current cap.
The plan also includes a $25,000 exemption for tangible personal property for businesses. This includes such items as computers and office furniture.
The plan also calls for clarification of state law regarding assessments and a break for affordable housing.
It would require local governments to post some tax and spending information on their Web sites.

My concerns are:
1. How does it address the concerns of renters who can't afford to buy a home at current tax levels? I don't think that a larger homestead expemtion is sufficient.
2. What about businesses? A $25,000 exemption is nothing when they are facing enormous tax burdens. It also doesn't address the continuous increases that they will see as more properties are protected from taxes.

We can't expect our businesses and renters to bear the entire tax burden. Ultimately, if you have the majority of properties protected, the minority will be dramatically effected. Providing additional protections for that majority simply increases the effect that the minority will feel.

I look forward to reading and hearing more about this new plan to understand it more completely.

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