Florida plans to continue plucking its snowbirds!
After months of studies and negotiations the agreement tabled last weekend may actually aggravate condition of snowbirds:
1. Out-of-control spending continues! The much discussed expenditures “rollback” to 2001 or 2003 was abandoned to a “hold the line” at 2006-2007 level and perhaps cut 3, 5, 7 or 9% from there, if councils do not override with a vote. 2. Discrimination against snowbirds continues unabated! In the first year of the new scheme, according to government data, everyone gets on the average of about $200 benefit; this continues at the $200-300 level for non-homesteaders in subsequent years, compared to $1300-1600 benefit on the average for homesteaders. That sounds like the inequity will be increasing, rather than decreasing; and it’s not clear where the additional reductions will be paid for: further expenditure reductions (unlikely) or further shifting the load onto non-homesteaders. 3. Voters will be even more desensitized to level of expenditures! Since homesteaders’ SOH caps will be grandfathered, and new ‘super-exemptions’ will actually be reducing the tax rates for those homesteaders who do not get benefit from SOH and government will be able to override spending caps with relatively simple majority votes in council, so homesteaders’ gravy train is not only continued but will be even better. So, why would homesteaders worry about government spending? There is nothing here that engages the voters’ interest in curtailing government spending.
The bottom line is that if this is passed in the special legislative session starting on June 12, the result will result in serious damage to snowbirds! (So much for Governor Crist assuring snowbirds in the Sun-Sentinel’s “Ask the Governor” column that “I think the special session is going to be good news for them”)
Unless we get to “Same Tax on Same Market Value” the result will be ongoing escalating government expenditures, mass conversion of non-homesteader snowbirds to homestead status and the rest increasingly departing to more welcoming (more affordable and/or better value for the money) pastures.
The outcry against the latest proposals is already under way. If you are a property owner snowbird in Florida you need to have your views expressed now. If you’re thinking of becoming one, you better understand what you are signing up to. Temporary resident property owners are no longer welcome.
One of the best hopes currently on the table is the legal challenge launched earlier this year by four Alabamans against Save-Our-Homes on constitutional grounds.