Sunday, October 14, 2007

Save Our Millionaires Homes

The new portability in Save Our Homes is what I call the Rush Limbaugh tax cut.

Last year, 1,000 Florida homeowners saved more than $25,000 each in countywide property taxes because of the amendment. The values of their homes ranged from $1.5 million to $42.5 million.

The list includes gilded heirs and industry moguls. Others are among the state's most recognizable citizens, including golfer Greg Norman on Hobe Sound, singer Gloria Estefan in Miami Beach and Palm Beach residents Rush Limbaugh, Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer and Jimmy Buffett.

A new portability proposal in Save Our Home would benefit the wealthiest. That means if they want to upgrade to a new mansion they keep their tax break.

Under the new plan, the largest benefit goes to owners of homes with the $1 million in accrued Save Our Homes benefit who trade up to even more expensive homes. One million dollars in accrued benefit is the maximum that would be transferable to a new home under the proposal. The tax savings for someone making that move: $9,500.

And because the new plan leaves the Save Our Homes protection in place, it does nothing to prevent existing inequities where neighboring homeowners in identical houses pay vastly different tax bills, based solely on when they purchased their home.

People can have homes of the same value, but pay different taxes because of how whacky Save Our Homes is. There is also the question of the wisdom of giving this tax break for the wealthy during a budget deficit.

This will not increase new residents into Florida. Save Our Homes should be targeted to the middle class. Florida's economy and tax system is spurred by growth. The middle class is leaving Florida. Bringing more super rich people and taxing them little is not going to get Florida out of it's current economic hole.

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