I swear, the Republican Legislature DID do something. Really.

Okay. So in January the Republican Legislature passed “property insurance reform.” In June, the Republican Legislature passed “property tax reform.”

After all, these were important campaign issues. Something had to be done. Floridians are going broke. They can’t afford their homes. They’re moving out of our state.

So two bills were passed. Hands were shook. Backs were slapped.

Thank God.

I mean, if it wasn’t for the Legislature we wouldn’t be seeing these great savings.

Look behind door number one.

Who could have guessed that State Farm would think about cutting rates by a whopping 7%? Wow. USAA – the insurer for Florida’s military families – cut rates by 3%. Amazing.

But wait. There’s more.

Let’s see what’s behind door number two. Tax cuts from local governments!

Yes, places like Hillsborough County were told to roll their tax rates back, and then cut by 5%. Schools, of course, did not have to do this — the Legislature actually RAISED property taxes to pay for schools… but that’s not important right now.

Still, cutting these wasteful local governments will mean a lot. The average home owner in Hillsborough County will see their total property taxes go down by a stunning 2%. Incredible.

This is an amazing deal. If you see a Republican legislator, be sure to thank him or her. Without their hard work and leadership, these kinds of real savings would not be possible.

In all seriousness, it is amazing to see how many half-measures the legislature passes. There were serious proposals on both property insurance and property taxes that were completely ignored our outright dismissed by various leaders in both parties.

Now the legislature is placing its bets on the passage of the “super exemption” to save their butts on property taxes. They expect 60% of Floridians to vote to change their precious Save Our Homes exemption. Foolish at best.

You want to reduce government spending and property taxes? Why not tackle just valuation? Why not require local governments to analyze duplicate services? Why not examine unfunded mandates that could result in real savings?

As for property insurance, some are starting to realize that insurance companies are greedy. Duh. You want to force rate cuts? Why not reverse Senator Bill Nelson’s act (when he was insurance commissioner) and ban Florida-only subsidiaries? Why not mandate specific cuts? Why not realize that property insurance is part of our economic infrastructure and make a public investment in it?

Yes. I am not happy with the Republican leadership. The 2008 election year is going to be hard already. The tide is shifting to the Democrats. Why on earth do you want to give them an issue wrapped up in such a nice neat package?

I expect several legislative seats to be in jeopardy strictly because of the failure to provide a meaningful response on these issues. They have one chance to change that — the 2008 legislative session. I hope they get their act together and collectively grow the cajones to take real steps.

About Jim Johnson

Editor and publisher of The State of Sunshine.
This entry was posted in 2008, Elections, Florida Legislature, Property Insurance, Property Taxes. Bookmark the permalink.

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