Florida Tax Crisis

Winter 2007 CSANews Issue 65  |   Posted date : May 22, 2008.Back to list

Bird talk - Le Jaseur
Dear Bird Talk,
Re: Letter from Warren Davis Re: Florida Tax Crisis – CSANews Fall 2007

Is Governor Charlie Crist really listening? Will his legislative reforms substantially reduce the financial burden on snowbirds who own property in Florida? This writer says, not nearly as much as he would like us to believe. His letter sent to CSA dated August 9, 2007 states that proposed tax reductions apply to homesteads, second and rental homes and to all commercial properties. To my knowledge, none of these tax reductions that were mentioned apply to snowbirds (non-residents). It would be interesting to know what percentage of the $15 billion savings that the governor expects to pass on to Florida property owners will be given to non-resident taxpayers.

Yes, certain counties did minimally reduce taxes by approximately 4% in total, except for those counties that chose to override the cut. However, school taxes (which account for about almost half of the taxes most folks pay) remained the same. Does a 4% reduction versus the hundreds of percentages of increases we have all seen in the past five years provide sufficient tax relief? Tax portability is another bid advantage being considered for Florida residents only. Should non-residents be entitled to this benefit as well?

For the most part, the proposed legislative changes refer to Florida residents. With a two-tiered property tax system, no mention of non-residents usually means little, if any change. Perhaps Governor Crist really is trying to achieve property tax reform, but his legislators seem to think otherwise. All of the rhetoric about belt-tightening and understanding concerns of snowbirds simply means that millions of Canadian and U.S. non-resident property owners can expect minimal property tax reductions. With little help showing on the horizon, organizations such as the Canadian Snowbird Association must continue their ongoing efforts in rallying against this unfair, discriminatory tax system.

Paul Richer
Ottawa, ON and Naples, FL

Response :
There is a dim light, far on the horizon. Governor Crist has recently agreed to meet with CSA President Gerry Brissenden, for followup discussions regarding the unfair tax issues. Hopefully, they will take more of CSA’s suggestions to heart.

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