St. Petersburg Times
Special report
Video report
  • For their own good
    Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
  • More video reports
Multimedia report
Print Email this storyEmail story Comment Email editor
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Your name Your email
Friend's name Friend's email
Your message


Tax plan draws fire at hearing

An organization of small businesses says caps can be overridden easily.

Published February 23, 2007


TALLAHASSEE - The head of a group representing small Florida businesses opposed the House Republican leadership's plan to exchange lower property taxes for a higher sales tax, in testimony Thursday before the Senate Finance and Tax Committee.

Members of the National Federation of Independent Business are worried such a swap, while providing short-term property tax reductions, in the long run would result in higher levies on commercial property, said state director Allen Douglas.

House GOP leaders Wednesday unveiled a two-part plan that includes a state constitutional amendment that would abolish taxes on homestead property - primary homes - while increasing the state's sales tax from 6 percent to 8.5 percent. The increase would go to local governments to partly offset property tax losses.

The proposed amendment would limit state and local revenue increases to a factor equal to population growth and inflation, starting from 2000-01 budget figures.

Local governments, though, would be able to exceed the cap by unanimous vote.

"Over the long term, as local governments need revenues, simply with a unanimous vote they could get around the revenue caps and begin to tax businesses more and more," Douglas said.

His members, instead, favor Gov. Charlie Crist's proposal to place a 3 percent cap on annual tax increases for commercial and other nonhomestead properties similar to the one already provided for homeowners under the Save Our Homes Amendment.

[Last modified February 23, 2007, 05:49:55]

Share your thoughts on this story

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Subscribe to the Times
Click here for daily delivery
of the St. Petersburg Times.

Email Newsletters