On Tuesday, the Seminole County Commission received their first legislative update since the state lawmakers adjourned their 60 day legislative session on Monday. Commissioners held nothing back blasting measures they believed impeded on home rule policies and pledged to educate the public on how they believed the legislation would effect their every day lives.
Commissioners specifically pointed to the approval of a constitutional ballot amendment that will go before voters next year, that would extend the homestead tax exemption from $50,000 to $75,000. Seminole county government estimates the measure would cost the area about $11 million dollars in local revenue.
“Our home rule was stepped all over.” said District 5 Commissioner Brenda Carey “For them to come back home and act like they’ve done something wonderful, they didn’t do something wonderful to the local governments. We can’t just act like everything is fine. There are going to be consequences to the “great” things they did in Tallahassee. We need to educate our voters.”
Former State Senator and District 3 Commissioner Lee Constantine agreed calling the process a “vicious shell game” and adding “When our State Senators and Representatives get back home and get in front of the Chamber of Commerce and say ‘look what we did’,we need to call them on it. It’s incumbent upon us to not let them have a free pass.”
Commission Chair John Horan, said the loss of revenue could hurt local public safety services, like the fire rescue efforts that have worked to fight the recent wild fires in th Geneva area saying “The 11 million that we could lose to our general fund, if this particular exemption is passed hit’s that directly. That helicopter was dumping water and saving homes. Call your neighbors and tell them the legislature didn’t cut your taxes they just cut our revenues.”
State lawmakers in Tallahassee have referred to the initiative as the biggest possible tax cut in the Florida’s history. The ballot measure will require approval from 60% of the voters. Other municipalities are likely to collaborate to stand up an effort to appose the measure.
The Commission did thank Clearwater State Senator Jack Latvala, who they identified as an ally on many of their initiatives.