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Hogan says tax cap is dead; he's switching vote on tax swap

The official vote hasn't happened, but the sponsor of the tax cap says it's all but dead after an earlier amendment smoked out the votes on the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission.

Mike Hogan, the Duval County tax collector and sponsor of the amendment, said the 13-10 vote in support of a rewrite of his tax plan will fall short of the 17 needed to bring it to the ballot. A replacement amendment, by Commissioner Susan Story, to make it harder for all state and local governments to raise taxes and fees, is also likely to fail when the commission meets after its lunch break this afternoon.

The absence of a tax cap will now affect Hogan's vote on the tax swap proposal by Commissioners John McKay and Pat Levesque, he said. The summary of that constitutional amendment says it is to replace school property taxes with a one-cent increase in the sales tax and other revenues says. When the measure was debated before the full commission, Hogan said, "the debate was different'' and he had the impression it could be more than a penny. Now, he says, "it's a backdoor services tax...a bait and switch" and he will not vote to put it on the ballot when the panel decides on April 24 to approve the final language.

"There's no struggle on my part,'' he said. "I will change my vote.''