Florida Tax System Overburdens Part-Time Residents and Business

Published September 1, 2008

Tom Gaitens, Florida field director for FreedomWorks, a nationwide grassroots taxpayer advocacy group, notes the Florida tax system is designed to shift billions of dollars of property tax burden away from full-time residents to part-time residents and business.

Gaitens said he is “personally sympathetic to the idea of ridding ourselves of dependence upon property taxes as a method of funding government. I much prefer for the cost of government to not be dependent upon extorting part-time Floridians as we have under the property tax system, which protects to varying degrees voters, but harasses taxpaying part-time residents.”

However, Gaitens added, he has “yet to come to a firm position on” Amendment 5, the proposed Property Tax Swap Amendment to cut property taxes 25 percent while hiking other taxes, including a rise in the state sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent.

“While achieving the goal of funding government more broadly, Amendment 5 allows for two legislative cycles before the tax reduction occurs,” Gaitens said. “This affords, at the minimum, two opportunities to repeal Amendment 5 before the benefits to the public come forth. This causes me to have some serious concerns on the overall value of Amendment 5.”

Nevertheless, Gaitens said, “the benefits of A5 could certainly reinvigorate the housing industry, which is the linchpin in our overall economic well-being.”

Krystle Russin