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Mayor: prop tax amendment won't cause crisis; won't help housing market much either

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez said Wednesday that the $100 million hit to the county by the property tax amendment approved by voters will not cause a county budget crisis -- but neither will it solve the housing crisis.

"At some point in time, it will impact the level of service we can provide," Alvarez said during an impromptu news conference at Florida Memorial University. "We're going to have to do a better job with the money that we have."

He would not speculate how the cuts would be distributed across the county's massive bureaucracy, which has a $7.3 billion budget, except to say that he hoped to avoid cuts in public safety. He said it was "premature'' to discuss seeking concessions when the county's labor unions -- which represent 90 percent of the government's 30,000 workers -- begin negotiating new long-term deals later this year.

As with last year's cuts, which totaled $225 million, Alvarez struck a moderate tone. He said the amendment's overwhelming victory in Miami-Dade -- more than 71 percent -- sent a strong message, but it also will not address the county's housing woes.

The solution, he said, would be to address runaway tax bills on commercial and rental property. "The inequities that existed yesterday exist today," he said.

-- MATTHEW PINZUR

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