LOWERING PROPERTY TAXES
Substantial progress was made in 2007 and 2008 toward reducing your property taxes. I was a co-sponsor of legislation passed in May 2007 that capped the amount of revenue local governments could collect based on a set percentage below 2006 revenue levels; future increases in revenue were capped as well. In 2008 we placed a constitutional change on the ballot, Amendment 1, which was passed overwhelmingly by the voters (greater than 65%). I was proud to have traveled throughout our area with Governor Crist to help educate the voters on this ballot measure and I was honored to be with him on election day when it passed. Amendment 1 doubled the $25,000 homestead exemption to $50,000; it provided for the transferability of the accumulated tax savings through the Save Our Homes 3% tax cap on an old home to reduce the taxable value of a newly purchased home; and it provided for a 10% cap on non-homestead real estate and it created filing exemptions for small businesses for certain business taxes.
This past legislative session we took several steps forward to make it easier for you to challenge your tax bill if you disagree with the amount of your real estate tax assessment. Through legislation that I co-sponsored, we restored balance and fairness to the property appraisal process and leveled the playing field between homeowners and property appraisers. Under the bill, which passed the legislature and was signed by the Governor, if you disagree with your property appraiser's assessment, he will now have to justify the assessment, when before it was up to you to prove he was wrong. We changed the old rule because the right thing to do is to put the burden on the government, and not on the citizens, to prove that the amount assessed is fair. We also passed a ballot measure for November 2010 that would change the constitution to provide Florida voters with the opportunity to limit the property tax increases on non-homestead property to 5%, and provide first time homestead property owners an additional exemption. I promise, as your conservative voice in Tallahassee, that I will continue the crusade to lessen the property tax burden on every Floridian so that our state can truly be the first place people chose to live, work, raise a family and retire.
Beyond the efforts we have made to lower your property taxes, I fundamentally believe that the money you earn should be yours to do with as you wish and the government should not be entitled to take one penny more then is absolutely necessary to provide essential services. Outrageous government spending is irresponsible and I am committed to putting a stop to it. By taxing you too much the government is saying it doesn't trust you to do what’s best with the very money that you earn. This is wrong. You work extremely hard to provide for yourself and your family and the money you earn should go back into your bank account and not into the government treasury. For this reason, during my legislative tenure I voted to abolish the intangibles tax and I have worked diligently with my colleagues to provide Floridians with over $20 billion in tax relief over the past seven years. I have been a big supporter of the Hurricane and Schools Sales Tax Holiday and have voted in favor of these measures every time they have come up for a vote.