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Old 04-27-2008, 08:09 AM
3,923 posts, read 10,292,044 times
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Approved tax and budget ballot proposals at a glance

The Florida Taxation and Budget Reform Commission has approved the following proposed state constitutional amendments for placement on the Nov. 4 ballot, where they will appear in the following order:

ENERGY/HURRICANE TAX BREAK: Owners of homes and other residential property would get a small property tax reduction for energy efficiency and wind storm protection improvements.

CONSERVATION LANDS: Land held in perpetuity for conservation purposes would be exempt from property tax and other conservation lands would be taxed based on their current use rather than their ''highest and best,'' or potential use.

TAX SWAP: A state-required local school tax would be repealed, lowering overall property tax bills by 25 percent. The Legislature would be required to make up the lost school money through methods that could include raising the sales tax 1 percentage point, repealing sales tax exemptions and cutting other spending. The proposal also would give properties that do not qualify for a homestead exemption available only for primary homes a 5 percent cap on annual assessment increases.

WATERFRONT TAXES: Marinas, commercial fishing facilities and other ''working waterfront'' businesses would get a property tax break by being assessed according to their current use rather than their ''highest and best,'' or potential use.

RELIGION: A constitutional ban on direct and indirect state financial aid to churches and religious organizations would be repealed.

COMMUNITY COLLEGES: Local option sales taxes could be imposed to support community colleges if approved by voters in each county served by a college.

SCHOOL VOUCHERS: A Florida Supreme Court opinion striking down a program that sent students from failing public schools to private schools at taxpayer expense would be set aside. Other voucher programs would be protected against similar legal challenges, and school districts would be required to spend 65 percent of their budgets in the classroom.

( 2008 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. In the interest of timeliness, this story is fed directly from the Associated Press newswire and may contain occasional typographical errors. )
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