REAL ESTATE TAX AMENDMENT – Florida voters sent a loud message Tuesday: We want lower property taxes. But are more tax cuts likely? It’s too early to know, but a couple things could happen. The state’s tax panel, for example, is considering a repeal of those property taxes that pay for schools, reducing taxes by about 40 percent, and replacing them with a sales tax on many services.
INTEREST RATES - The Federal Reserve delivered powerful new relief to people and businesses squeezed by the ailing economy, cutting interest rates ever deeper – by an additional half-point – in an effort to avert or soften the blow of a recession.
HOME SELLERS – Property owners who decide not to sell and, instead, refinance at today’s very attractive interest rates may have a shock in store: “When your home is on the market or has been on the market, generally, you’re not going to be allowed to get a new mortgage,” says Keith Gumbinger, vice president of New Jersey-based HSH Associates, a mortgage-industry publisher.
LOCAL TAX DOLLARS – Is your local government spending twice as much as it did five years ago yet crying that it’s poor? Or have local officials been wise caretakers of your tax dollars? In an effort to educate Floridians about their own local government income and spending, Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink has announced the launch of “Your Local Government Dollars and Cents,” which can be found on her Web site at www.MyFloridaCFO.com . It gives Floridians easy access to their local government’s revenues andexpenditures. “I encourage every Floridian to use this tool and get more involved in how their local tax dollars are spent,” Sink says. “With governments actively cutting their budgets, it is essential that Floridians make it clear what their priorities are for their communities.” This new tool allows you to search by city, county or special district for a variety of revenue information including: ad valorem taxes, grants, fees and fines. You can also look up a local government’s expenditure information, including amounts spent on schools, transportation, public safety, general government and more. You can create reports comparing governments, revenues and expenditures, and electronic data is available by year from 1993 through 2007. Since 1973, Florida law has required the state Department of Financial Services to collect this financial information from local governments. If you’re also interested in revenue and expenditures data for local school districts, that information can be found at Florida’s Department of Education, according to Sink.