Florida Counties Losing 1.5 Billion
Florida’s 67 counties have lost 1.5 billion dollars over the past three years due to property tax cuts and falling home values. The counties are expected to lose another 730 million in 2010 alone. The Florida Association of Counties is asking lawmakers for relief, but the governor says the people need more tax breaks.
In 2007 Governor Charlie Crist promised Amendment one would make property taxes would “drop like a rock”. While they didn’t exactly shoot to the bottom, the tax cut is expected to leave counties with 430 million fewer dollars by 2010.
Still the tax cut accounts for only a third of the 1.5 billion dollars counties are losing. Statewide property values have fallen by 184 billion dollars, which accounts for half the money counties have lost.
The decrease is leaving Florida’s 67 counties with fewer law enforcement officers, maintenance crews and fire protection.
Florida Association of Counties President Rodney Long says people will notice the cuts. “In my county we actually didn’t fill some of the vacancies and we reduced some of our levels of services,” said Long.
Governor Charlie Crist says counties could make due with even less. “What county governments need to do is exactly what we have done here at the state level and what Florida families have to do, live within their means,” said Crist.
For county governments living within the means allotted by falling home prices and property taxes, cuts will mean more layoffs and fewer services.
For more information about how much property tax values have fallen in your county go to www.fl-counties.com/proptax/
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