Today's Letters: State needs to move on tax issue

Published May 4, 2007

It is suggested in the letter to the editor of May 2 that the proper fix for the ad valorem tax system is to eliminate the homestead exemption and keep the Save Our Homes program. It is suggested that our leaders will then be forced to curb their spending desires and work within our means.

At present the only limitations to ad valorem taxes are limits to the millage rates and tax base. As long as the formula is millage rate times real estate assessment equals tax bill, the Save Our Homes program will shelter only taxpayers with homesteaded property, and will curb spending only when millage rate limits are reached, or there are limitations to the tax base.

Real estate taxes on many property types have increased dramatically due to dramatic increases in valuations. While the real estate market has now cooled, the uncontrolled increases in taxes of just a couple of years ago, and those that may occur in the future, can be "curbed" only through budget limitations.

Further compounding the issue is the observation that some counties have developed surpluses, relative to their needs, as a result of the dramatic increases in ad valorem taxation collections, while counties like Pasco, that are faced with tremendous growth pressures on infrastructure, have seen potential surpluses eliminated by dramatic increases in the materials and costs associated with infrastructure improvements.

I support the Pasco County Commission's latest moves on impact fees, primarily because I didn't see any superior methods they could employ to address the issue. The greater statewide issue of uncontrolled tax increases resulting from dramatic increases in the tax base has yet to be resolved.

Rick Rape, Trinity


Axing FCAT rule was a smart move

Kudos to the Pasco County School Board for scrapping the FCAT rule. We don't think it's fair that if kids don't pass the FCAT, that they can't participate in the graduation ceremony with their fellow classmates.

We have a daughter who is a freshman. She is a very intelligent young lady. She makes honor roll every quarter and has since middle school. She will be in honors classes her sophomore year but she isn't a very good test taker. There has been so much pressure added to our children because of the FCAT, we are just thankful to see that rule scrapped.

Now, let's keep this rule for our children, your children and children to come.

Bill and Sara Brandt, New Port Richey


Gorgeous lawns, gorging on water

I have lived here for 30 years. I've seen drought and have to say that the county hasn't done anything to prepare itself it when it comes again. Now, with so many people here, it's going to be a real pain.

Glad I have a wonderful clean well that I had to make deeper back when we had the last drought cause the water table went down. I see that the builders are putting in Floratam grass. That grass takes the most water to live and the builders have put in miles and miles of sprinkler systems, too.

What they should have been doing, and the county should have made it mandatory, was Bahia grass and low-volume sprinkler heads. That would save millions of gallons of water just by using those two small items.

Does the county or the builders association care at all about doing the right thing? Maybe they should start doing something today. How about recyclable gutters with barrels in the ground for natural water storage? Stores have showerheads that drop high volumes of water. Why are they selling such items and not trying to help the community with water-saving ideas?

Alan Fabrizi, Hudson


Why not just let them phone it in?

The Pasco School Board did a wonderful thing doing away with seniors having to complete all of their state graduation requirements.

If I were an aspiring senior knowing it would take a little extra work to get me over the hump, in order to go to commencement, now it makes it possible for me to remove any further incentive to further my education. What the heck? I know my commencement ceremony is guaranteed.

School Board member Allen Altman did the right thing by voting against that measure. That decision the board made is called the "dumbing down of America." Rather than examine the cause of why others fail, we succumb to mediocrity. It's time we need a new School Board.

Peter Neustadt, New Port Richey