In an attempt to influence upcoming votes on the FY2017 budget, local groups questioning the budget priorities of the City of Tallahassee commissioned a scientific poll that was conducted on July 7th and July 8th. The poll gathered answers to 13 questions from 400 likely general election voters. The poll had a margin of error of 5.0%.
The groups involved in the poll included Florida TaxWatch, the Network of Entrepreneurs and Business Advocates (NEBA), the Budget Hawks and Citizens for Responsible Spending (CRS).
In a press conference held on Monday at the Florida Press Center, two leaders of the groups explained the findings.
“Tallahassee is a great city but to continue growing and providing opportunities for everyone to pursue their dreams, there must be a balance between what the government wants and how much people can afford to pay,” said Dominic M. Calabro, president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch.
“This poll is evidence that Tallahassee residents demand relief and demand to be heard,” said Barney Bishop, president of NEBA and founder of CRS.
The results show that 57% of poll respondents support splitting the $5 million in savings identified by City of Tallahassee staff between providing property tax relief and infrastructure spending. Also, 60% support property tax relief over the elimination of the business tax which was recently requested by the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce.
On the executive pay raises that hit the news last week, only 17% of respondents felt the raises were deserved.
The results also show the community is less concerned with the pay levels for public safety officials and the 2% raise proposed for city employees. Over 65% of the respondents voiced support for the current salary levels of police officers, firefighters and this year’s proposed 2% raise.
Bishop commented that he had misread the sentiment of the public on the 2% employee raises and encouraged City Commissioners to adopt spending priorities that are responsive to both City employees and the property tax payer.
Other results found that 51% of the respondents believe the City of Tallahassee is on the right track.
with the new giveaway of $2 million in free fees to commercial developers that they will no longer have to pay, get ready for a new increase in property taxes. Leon County is already increasing theirs this year again. More bigger homes, more taxes. More lost homes due to not being able to pay property taxes. State of Florida lives off of property taxes and with the new giveaway that money will need to come from somewhere but they will make you believe its your fault because you wanted tax relief. Urban sprawl needs to be curtailed in the NE and shifted to District 2, 4 lane roads going nowhere and sustainability of existing infrastructure needs to be a priority. Water resources will soon be a concern and without water no expansion. County commissioners need to be downsized in salaries and City commissioners need to stop allowing developers to contribute to their coffers for elections and start lobbying for a state income tax, doing away with property taxes.
Property taxes are the worst taxes of all. Everyone excepts them and they’re generally fine with it because it’s considered to be a progressive tax (proportionately hitting nicer homes harder). However, you can save for most of your life to build or buy your dream home, but you have to factor in the property taxes in your analysis and scale back your dream to something that you can afford to pay the government each year for the rest of your life. Even when it’s paid off you might you think you own your home, but you don’t really. You have to pay the government for it every year or they can take it from you, cease it, and sell it to someone else. In a way, it’s an assault on private property rights. Governments love property taxes. They can count on them each year. This makes both budgeting and tax increases much easier for them. The taxing districts that make up the component parts of our property taxes can raise their rate each year, and frequently do. Many are upset about the COT rate increase as this article points out. If you don’t like the rate increase then you are welcome to attend the public meeting, speak your words, and move on. Property taxes need to be completely restructured and at a minimum, moved to a referendum for rate increases to be voted on.
I would be stunned that 17% of respondents support waaaay-overpaid city executives; but in a city where we keep electing crooked backroom deal-makers that show no regard for citizen concerns, it’s sadly not a surprise.
Sadly, they could care less what the citizens think.
Put this together with the savings of cutting out (the illegal) Fluoridation process and that’s a pretty good amount that could go towards education (for example).