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Florida Budget Plan Relies on Higher Property Taxes

by William C. Coleman III, Orlando, April 2015

 

Property tax relief doesn't seem to be a major goal as the Florida Legislature considers how to spend a projected $1 billion budget surplus. In fact, Governor Rick Scott's proposal to spend $842 million more for public schools is primarily funded with higher property taxes.

 

The state-mandated property tax rate for schools would stay the same under Governor Scott's proposal. However, since property values are recovering throughout Florida, an estimated $392 million more in property taxes would be collected statewide.

 

The breakdown includes:

 

  • $57 million more in Miami-Dade

  • $38 million more in Broward

  • $31 million more in Hillsborough

  • $14 million more in Pinellas

  • $7 million more in Pasco

 

In some urban areas, the additional property tax is the result of new construction being added to the tax rolls for the first time. However, virtually all of the increase falls on existing businesses and homeowners in areas that are already built out.

 

If Governor Scott's budget proposal passes the Legislature, all 67 county school boards throughout the state will have to ratify the decision before it becomes law.