It’s been at least five years since Florida’s housing market collapsed under the weight of foreclosures, and the disaster is far from over, according to state economists and budget advisors.
During a Tuesday revenue forecast conference for next year’s budget, Florida’s chief economist Amy Baker said it won’t be until at least 2017 that the hangover from the foreclosure crisis should wear off.
That means flat to steady growth in collections of property taxes in Florida's 67 counties. Economists now peg next year’s growth at less than 1 percent, about 0.83 percent. While better than last year’s 0.88 percent decrease in property taxes, it’s still pretty much a wash. It’s not expected to get much better in subsequent years, where the property taxes should climb about 3 percent each year until 2017.
“We have growth, but it’s more steady because of the foreclosures that will be hitting the marketplace,” Baker said after meeting with representatives from the House, Senate and Gov.Rick Scott’s office, including his policy chief Holger Ciupalo. These meetings are held now to establish a consensus in projecting revenues and costs and are crucial in serving as the underpinnings for the proposed budgets that will be released early next year by Scott and the Legislature.
Statewide, schools have the most to lose or gain from the projections on property taxes, which are used to estimate the Required Local Effort millage rate. This is the rate school districts levy so they can collect state revenue from sales taxes and other sources.
-- Mike Van Sickler