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House passes tax cap and 1.35% -- but Brian Pitts calls it

With easy approval, the House Policy and Budget Council made up for where the TBRC fell down and approved a constitutional amendment to create a Colorado-style revenue cap on all Florida governments.

The measure, said sponsor Rep. Frank Attkisson, is needed because the tax cap we have in place is "really useless and meaningless'' and needs adjustment. Unlike Colorado's TABOR, the Florida proposal excludes universities, community colleges and the state-run insurer, Citizen's Property Insurance.

But does it have a chance?

Renown capital observer and "Justice 2 Jesus" advocate, Brian Pitts, summed it up this way before the committee: "In the Senate, this thing ain't going anywhere -- if you know what I mean.''

Before that vote, the House also gave approved to Rep. Carlos Lopez-Cantera's proposal to put a 1.35 percent cap on property taxes on the November ballot. The idea is to cap taxable values at 13.5 mills, or 1.35 percent and, Lopez-Cantera said, bring property tax revenues back to pre-2006 levels.

But Democrats blasted the idea, warning it could cripple government services and "absolutely crush,'' education."This is a lovely bumper sticker, but I don't think it has much flesh,'' said Rep. Shelley Vana, a West Palm Beach Democrat.

Lopez-Cantera countered: "This isn't a bumper sticker. It is simple though.''

"The citizen petition is going to be on the ballot in 2010,'' he said. "It's incumbent on us to give them the opportunity to vote for this two years earlier.''

The House Majority Office quickly touted the measure as a $5.9 billion potential tax savings if lawmakers put it on the ballot and voters were to approve it. They said the average savings on a $350,000 house would be $4,725 on the 2009-2010 property tax bill. In fact, the tax on a $350,000 house under their plan would be $4,725 and the average savings would be more like $1,512.