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Budget negotiators OK water management district tax cuts sought by Scott

by John Kennedy | May 1st, 2011

House and Senate budget negotiators agreed Sunday night to give Gov. Rick Scott one of his tax-cutting proposals — a roughly 25 percent reduction in water management district property taxes.

House budget chief Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring, advanced the offer — which was similar to an even deeper property tax cut and takeover of water management district budgets that had been pushed by her Senate counterpart, J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales.

Florida’s five water management districts collect over $1 billion in property taxes, with the South Florida Water Management District collecting $411 million, alone. But SFWMD’s collections would be capped at $285 million under the deal reached Sunday, roughly a $126 million reduction in the district’s dollars.

Alexander, a citrus grower whose district includes Okeechobee and Glades counties,  has been pushing to more tightly restrict water management district spending for months.  He’s said districts have been sitting on reserves that could be used to cover existing costs and make room for the property tax break.

The South Florida district has $346 million in reserves, according to Alexander.

Environmentalists have said they feared the tax-cut package could threaten Everglades restoration, whose final dollar level is still being negotiated. The Senate has proposed $20 million, and the House $25 million to continue the ambitious state-federal Everglades project.

The water districts tax cut drew resistence earlier this spring from the state House Select Committee on Water Policy, whose chairman, Rep. Trudi Williams, R-Fort Myers, is a former South Florida district governing board member.

She questioned whether the agency could carry out its flood control and maintenance responsibilities with a steep reduction in revenues. Because of slumping property-tax values across the region, tax revenue collected by the district has already dropped about $150 million, from $549 million in 2007-08.

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5 Responses to “Budget negotiators OK water management district tax cuts sought by Scott”

  1. limpwrist Says:

    Rick Scott has a mob associate in his leadership coalition. Meet Joe Ardolina of American Truck Sales. He’s a former vice president in the now defunct H&W Refuse Service whose president was Anthony Carione, fingered by law enforcement along with his brother Frank Carione, as then active figures in the underworld. Another brother, Joseph Carione, plead guilty to defrauding the government as a co-defendant in a case that involved Colombo crime boss Andrew Russo.

  2. Matt Says:

    Great…more tax cuts.

  3. Florida government has its own Ponzi Scheme Says:

    These taxing authorities have become nothing more than what they perceive themselves to be as independant dynasties! Tax us and spend as they see fit! Saint Johns Water Management has bought thousands of acres and taken it off the tax rolls! The employee’s are better than the people who pay their salaries!

    Some of these independant dynasties use their municipal bonding powers to borrow bond monies! One such “noose” around the necks of Florida taxpayers is called FLORIDA HOUSING FINANCE CORPORATION. It sounds like just another mortgage company until you find out we the taxpayers are the stockholders! What do they do? They borrow money on our credit and “give it away” to the 67 counties and some major cities in Florida for affordable housing projects! At present they have “we the taxpayers” FOUR BILLION IN BOND DEBT! 1996 series bonds are still outstanding! In March they let another $100 MILLION in BONDS to pay the interest on the BONDS. Florida’s PONZI scheme makes Bernie Madoff look like a choir boy! I wonder if Gov Scott knows that they have these outstanding bonds? He just got SB7200 passed to defund them! Does he know they are trying to borrow themselves out of debt?

  4. Florida government has its own Ponzi Scheme Says:

    A little education on Floride Housing Finance and how they are robbing the taxpayers of Florida! Who is going to pay their Robin Hood Four Billion in bond debts? It would be bad enough if they simply took the money and give it away! But, they have borrowed the money on our good faith and credit and give it away to undeserving receipients!

    They beat Obama to his redistrubution of wealth plans and left the taxpayers to pay the bills!

  5. Jerry Blackburn Says:

    We need HIGHER taxes! Everytime a Republican is in charge, everything falls apart. Maybe it’s because they drop out of school after 8th grade, who knows, but their ability to defraud and steal from the POOR to give to the RICH is unparalleled in history. If Robin Hood had an evil adversary, it’s Republicans.

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