Reduce property tax by another 1 mill over next 7 years
"Phase in another 1 mill reduction (to the school property tax) over the next 7 years."
On amendments, voters not quite as anti-tax as Scott, Legislature
Updated: Wednesday, November 14th, 2012 | By Katie Sanders
On the 2010 campaign trail, Rick Scott called Florida's property tax system its "No. 1 tax problem.”
The 2012 general election gave Florida voters several opportunities to express if they shared his appetite for reducing the tax burden. Of 11 proposed constitutional amendments placed on the ballot by the Legislature and approved by Scott, several focused on property tax exemptions.
Voters shot down eight amendments, including Amendment 4, which would have offered $1.7 billion in tax relief mainly to businesses, first-time home buyers and second-home owners. City and county government officials warned they would have to scale down services or raise taxes to cope with the tax break if it passed.
Voters also killed a measure favored by Scott that would have doubled the tax exemption for businesses with tangible personal property -- furniture, machinery, shelving and other equipment -- resulting in a $20 million tax cut. Amendment 10 also would have allowed local governments to approval additional exemptions beyond the $50,000 exemption.
Still, three targeted tax-relief proposals -- engineered by the Legislature, not Scott -- nabbed the required 60 percent approval from voters. We should note, though, that these measures specifically say that the property owners are not exempt from paying school taxes.
Amendment 2 expands a property tax discount to disabled veterans who moved to Florida after entering the military. Amendment 9 gives a full property tax exemption to the spouses of military veterans and first responders who are killed in the line of duty. And Amendment 11 permits local governments to give an additional homestead tax exemption for certain low-income seniors.
That said, these amendments don't really help the part of Scott's 7-7-7 plan that called for reducing the state-imposed school property tax his first year in office and beyond. His promise to reduce the mill by 19 percent is Promise Broken, and this promise to reduce it by another mill over seven years remains Stalled.
Interview with Kurt Wenner, Florida Tax Watch, Nov. 12, 2012
Interview with John Thomas, Florida league of Cities spokesman, Nov. 13, 2012
Tampa Bay Times, 2012 amendment guide, accessed Nov. 13, 2012
Interview with Cheryl Etters, Department of Education spokeswoman, Nov. 13, 2012
Interview with Jackie Schutz, Gov. Rick Scott spokeswoman, Nov. 13, 2012
Collins Center for Public Policy, 2012 proposed constitutional amendments guide, accessed Nov. 13, 2012
State-imposed school tax rate is up, not down
Updated: Thursday, January 5th, 2012 | By Aaron Sharockman
Rick Scott told voters in 2010 that he could cut school property taxes and still find money to fund the K-12 system and balance the state budget.
Words, it turns out, are easier to offer than actions.
Scott promised during the campaign to cut the state-imposed school property tax 19 percent in his first year in office. He then said he would phase in additional cuts to the tax, called the Required Local Effort, over future years.
The first promise we found to be Promise Broken.
Scott never even proposed the full tax cut in his first-year budget. What he did propose, a more modest cut, was rejected by the Legislature.
Scott promised to lower the millage rate -- which is a multiplier used to calculate your tax bill based on the value of your property -- from 5.29 to 4.29 in his first year. But the rate went up, not down, to 5.446.
To keep the second leg of the promise, Scott said he would cut the millage rate again from 4.29 to 3.29 over seven years.
The budget request from the Florida Department of Education for 2012-13 anticipates keeping the tax rate at the same level from 2011-12, 5.446. The final rate will not be known until after the Legislature passes the state budget.
(A note for the budget wonks in the crowd: The tax rate is set by the Florida Department of Education; the Legislature and governor settle on a dollar figure that needs to be generated by the Required Local Effort. And since a person"s tax bill is dependent on the rate and property values, the rate can increase but your tax bill can still decrease.)
Scott"s office noted that the 2011-12 budget did include a cap on the amount of property taxes that can be collected by state water management districts. But that"s outside the scope of this promise, which is about school property taxes.
We"ll wait one more year to see if Scott has made progress in cutting school taxes. For now, however, this promise is Stalled.
Scott-O-Meter, "Reduce property tax (Required Local Effort) by 1 mill,” accessed Jan. 4, 2012
Statewide average Required Local Effort tax rate, 2010-11
Statewide average Required Local Effort tax rate, 2011-12
Statewide average Required Local Effort tax rate, proposed, 2012-13
Gov. Rick Scott's Communications Office, written responses to PolitiFact's questions about the Scott-O-Meter, Dec. 28, 2011