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Opposition mounts against tax cap on commercial property

The proposed constitutional amendment to impose a 5 percent Save Our Homes-style tax cap on the increase in assessed valuation of commercial property came under a barrage of opposition in the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday.

"We just don't believe that tax caps are the answer,'' said Lee Moffitt, the former House speaker now lobbyist for the building owners and managers association of Florida. "Tax caps neither reduce taxes fairly nor render a fair tas system...The system is only fair during the snapshot in time when it’s all enacted.''

Other opponents warned that the inequities might mean that some businesses can't sell their property, as the new buyers would be hit with higher tax bills, and could force local governments to replace the lost tax revenue by raising fees.

Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, agreed that "we have to be careful what we ask for and price controls don't work.'' He said the measure was in need of some refinements. "We don't want to inflict upon the commerical property in our state the same problems that have been created from Save Our Homes."

The proposal, by Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, also gives a one-time tax exemption to first-time home buyers. "This is going to provide tax relief,'' he promised. The proposed amendment passed.