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Outraged over Outrageous Charges

For rent
We own a small triplex that we rent to local working-class people. Last year, our wind premium was $1,600. Monroe County negotiated a rollback with Citizens [Property Insurance Corp.] of 32 percent, to take effect January 1. We just got our bill, and it’s now more than $8,000! Some rollback, huh?

Citizens says that we have a commercial property.  Since when is a triplex commercial? In the past, [properties with] one to four units were always residential; more than four were commercial.

We need help, and apparently there are many of us in this same leaky boat. We’ll never be able to solve the workforce housing issues facing Florida with these outrageous charges.

Michael Fagan
Marr Properties
Key Largo


Save Our Snowbirds

I can’t believe there is talk about totally abolishing property taxes. This is a bit radical. How about a compromise?

Snowbirds who call me for listing appointments are mad and want out. All Florida businesses will feel the crunch if our seasonal people aren’t here in the winter.

I’ve written my lawmakers and asked for an across-the-board decrease [in property taxes]. We could institute a state [income] tax like many other states. We also need our Florida government to stop spending! They had billions of dollars in excess one year—what happened to that?

Real estate professionals should be the ones to defend snowbirds, who are, many times, our future full-time residents. Our livelihood depends on new people gravitating to our shores.

Celinda Sawtelle
Campbell & Rosemurgy Real Estate
Deerfield Beach


Tax Elimination Harms the Poor

It’s amazing how many Florida real estate professionals are jumping on the bandwagon to eliminate property taxes. This myopic outlook negates the undue burden that an increased sales tax would have on Florida’s poorest citizens (i.e., people whom the state already assists through many entitlement programs).

For many of us, the property tax savings would certainly cover a 2 percent increase in sales taxes. But many low-wage earners don’t own property. Thus, they’d be faced with paying more sales taxes without the property tax relief the House bill seems to have envisioned.

The federal and state tax systems were designed to be progressive and based on the “wherewithal to pay” concept. The more you make, the more you pay on a proportionate basis. My concern is that the poorest citizens wind up needing even more assistance from the state. This would be an ironic and tragic result of a well-intentioned desire to ease the burden on most citizens. Add to that the idea that with the elimination of property taxes, such savings would be passed on to renters, easing the burden previously mentioned. The question, of course, is how many multifamily [property] owners would be willing to drop their rents?

I certainly believe that there are problems with the current system. And, government spending seems to be a large culprit. How did the counties spend all of the extra funds that were collected due to the acceleration in property values and, therefore, property taxes?

Michael J. Ambrose
Pontis Real Estate Services Inc.
Miami



Submit letters to “Editor” via e-mail to FLRealtor@far.org, mail to P.O. Box 725025, Orlando FL 32872-5025, or fax to (407) 438-1411.

Letters are edited for space and clarity. Publication of a letter does not constitute an endorsement of the writer’s views by the Florida Association of Realt
ors®.