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Tax cap gets House committee nod; but does it have legs?

A tax cap styled after the proposal that is strugging to get through the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission won a 12-4 vote of the House Efficiency and Government Accountability Committee Wednesday, despite signs that it is still not even on the agenda in the Senate.

Sponsor Frank Attkisson, a Kissimmee Republican, said he has heard rumblings that a similar proposed constitutional amendment is going to get a hearing in the Senate, where Sen. Mike Haridopolos would push it before his Finance and Tax Committee.

The TABOR-styled plan has all the trappings of the original tax cap proposed by Mike Hogan, the Duval County Tax Collector and member of the TBRC. It doesn't have any of the exemptions Hogan has agreed to include in order to reduce the impact on special taxing districts, children's services councils, schools and hospital districts and local government bond obligations. After postponing a vote for two consecutive meetings, the tax commission decides next Monday whether to reject or approve Hogan's proposal.

Attkisson called his bill a "leveler" because it would have forced local governments to roll back their property tax rates during the real estate boom years of 2004-2007 if it had been in effect. The rollback amounts statewide would have ranged from $1.4 billion in 2004 to $8.9 billion in 2007.

"You've got a choice to make to continue the yo-you effects of state and local budgeting,'' he said. "But if you think there is a better way to manage government this is the best thing that you can do.''