Real Estate Sales Up
Sales and corporate tax revenues continue to fall, and the governor is asking state departments to hold back 4 percent of their budgets. Despite the failing economy, thereâ€™s a sign things could be getting better.
Floridians are spending less, and so is big business. For May sales tax collections are 50 million dollars less than estimated. Corporate income tax is also down. Economists say declining home sales and high gas pricesâ€™ are hurting Florida.
"We do face the challenges from rising energy prices. We got the drag on the economy from the war in Iraq which is ongoing. So weâ€™ve got the challenges," said Randall Holcombe, FSU economist.
But home loan paperwork could send a signal that the state is rising to the challenges.
Thereâ€™s a lot of paper work involved in buying a house and with the paper work comes a lot of taxes and fees.
Those collections go into the general fund as documentary stamp taxes. For May the Doc Tax came in 13 million dollars higher than expected. The Florida Realtors Association says home sales are up and an increase in the Doc tax is good news.
"With increases in homes sales the doc stamps goes up and that helps build the state funds," said John Sebree, of the Florida Realtors Association.
Realtors say Amendment One is helping revive the stateâ€™s housing market. The amendment, approved by voters in January, allows homesteaded property owners to take their savings with them when they move.
"Weâ€™ve been talking to property appraisers across the state who are seeing a significant number, like in the thousands, of property owners who are filing for portability," said Sebree.
The Florida Realtors Association will release its latest sales figures next week, but early indications are they numbers will be up.
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