Robaina seeks support for property tax initiative

State Rep. Julio Robaina urged members of the Palmetto Bay Business Association to support a citizen ballot initiative to cap property taxes.

Article Courtesy of The Miami Herald


Published January 6, 2008

Don't count solely on the Florida Legislature to lower property taxes.

That was the message from State Rep. Julio Robaina at the Palmetto Bay Business Association meeting Thursday, where he urged it to vote in favor of a property tax amendment later this month and to support a citizens' petition to further lower taxes.

'If it's not happening with a citizens' initiative, it's just not happening,'' he said at the lunch meeting at Fleming restaurant, 8511 SW 136th St.

The Jan. 29 measure would increase the homestead exemption by $25,000 on all but school taxes. Homeowners also would be able to carry their Save Our Homes savings with them when they move.

Robaina called the amendment a ''Band-Aid fix'' but said he would vote in favor of it because some relief was better than none.

The South Miami Republican also asked business owners to help collect signatures for a citizens' petition that would cap the yearly property tax bill at 1.35 percent of the taxable value of any property in Florida.

For example, a property with a taxable value of $100,000 would pay a total of $1,350 in taxes to all local governments and school districts.

That plan, proposed by the Tampa-based Cut Property Taxes Now, would require 611,000 signatures by Jan. 31 to make it on the November ballot.

''This is real relief,'' he said.

``This is something we can't get done in Tallahassee.''

But local officials at the meeting raised concerns that the measure would hurt municipal and education budgets.

''Taxes provide services,'' Palmetto Bay Council member Paul Neidhart said.

Robaina, a former mayor of South Miami, admitted that the proposal would cut some funding, but he said it was important to keep people and businesses in Florida.

''Right now, what people want to do is hold on to their homes,'' he said.