Crying Wolf...

By Cooper City Commissioner, John Sims Interesting stuff on TV and in all the papers the last few weeks. All of the Cities and Counties are crying devastating poverty, gloom and doom while all of the residents throughout the State are saying “We want our money back!” Under the new property tax plan, homeowners would have the choice of getting a new tax break or keeping the one they have as part of a two-pronged plan the Legislature passed last month to cut soaring property taxes by billions. Lawmakers gave the taxpayer the choice to a proposed state constitutional amendment that will appear on the Jan. 29 ballot for voter approval. The Republican-sponsored amendment, aimed at slashing homeowner taxes and eliminating inequities, has drawn opposition from Democrats, local governments, teachers, police, firefighters and others, but the other part of the plan, a bill to roll back and cap taxes, passed with nearly unanimous bipartisan support. Gov. Charlie Crist who is "the people's governor," began beating the drum for tax cutting during his election campaign last year. "We've got half of it; now the people get to finish the job," Crist said after lawmakers adjourned. "It is power to the people to bring about this largest tax cut in the history of Florida." Cities and counties will freeze property-tax revenues at this year's levels and cut up to 9 percent more. Future tax revenues cannot be increased other than allowances for growth and income, although governments could sidestep the cap under some circumstances. If approved Jan. 29, a "super exemption" would exempt 75 percent of the first $200,000 of a home's value and 15 percent of the next $300,000. Homeowners could choose to keep the $25,000 exemption and the 3 percent annual assessment limit under Save Our Homes. Who tends to benefit from Save Our Homes? Those under SOH for longer periods of time; higher-value properties. Who tends to benefit from the "super exemption"? Those under SOH for shorter periods; lower-value properties. I say we all need to be strong. We all learn to adjust the budgets in our lives and so should government. I did when I was laid off for over a year and so did all of you at one time your lives. Don’t fall for the rhetoric and lobbying that will be coming. And, its coming BIG TIME… I would also like to proudly announce my appointment of Patty Webster to the Parks & Recreation Board. Please welcome her, as she is an invaluable resource, wealth of knowledge, and a great person! Bob and Patti have spent over 25 years in Cooper City government, first as activists and then elected in different capacities. She says “I look forward to working with you and again I am excited.” Please welcome her! Thanks for listening. I just smell the ground swelling of lobbying building up as everyone in government tries to keep their kingdoms together. We all need to stand strong and do the right thing for each one of us.

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