Saturday, June 2, 2007

Local Governments Win BIG?

The St. Petersburg Times is reporting on a letter sent yesterday by Senate President Ken Pruitt and House Speaker Marco Rubio
touting "substantial agreement" in the property tax talks.

One very significant portion of this letter could prove to be a major victory for local governments.

The details of this letter start out by saying
Cities and Counties will be required to cut their property taxes...

A cap on future property taxes will ensure that local governments cannot grow faster than personal income.
Nothing in there looks like a win for local governments. But look at the very next line in the letter
Local governments may override the caps and the cuts by an extraordinary vote
So what is an extraordinary vote, you ask? Here is what the letter goes on to say about that.
allowing local governments by a super majority vote, referendum or other heightened standards to override the mandatory cuts.
This provision appears to give local governments the power to retain control over their budgets. All they have to do now is to have the political courage to do what they think is best for their communities. I am betting that local governments in the Tampa Bay area will still look long and hard about where they might be able to reduce spending without impacting the quality of life in their communities. But they will retain control over how much to cut.

Stay tuned.


Sunny said...

Won't all local governments try and override with a super majority vote?

Jennifer said...

I'm sure they'll try, but getting a supermajority of citizens to vote in favor of a tax increase isn't exactly an easy thing to do.

gatordem said...

I'm sure most of them will at least consider the idea. To be clear, they will have at least two alternative ways to do this. The first would be for the local elected officials to vote to do it. That would require a supermajority vote (say 6 out of 8 votes). Another way would be by citizen referendum. That would most likely take only a majority of voters to pass.

Vox Populi said...

So, basically it will be a law without teeth. It looks like all of this got raked around just so they could vote the gambling changes in with no discussion. That hasn't come up again, if you notice.

tally said...

Thanks for pointing this out, I hadn't read it anywhere else. Nice job.