Wednesday, June 20, 2007

6 lanes for Lakewood Ranch Blvd

Lakewood road grows to keep up with boom
County OKs 6 lanes for ranch boulevard
By FRANK GLUCK
frank.gluck@heraldtribune.com
full article

http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20070620/NEWS/706200649
MANATEE COUNTY -- "Coming Soon" signs line Lakewood Ranch Boulevard between State Roads 64 and 70, an area poised for a commercial and housing boom in burgeoning Lakewood Ranch.Full build-out is still years away, but Schroeder-Manatee Ranch Inc. -- developers of the expansive Lakewood Ranch community -- are moving forward with designs to widen the roadway to six lanes to handle anticipated traffic.

The four-mile stretch is already home to a number of traffic-generating enterprises, including the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. Gullett Elementary School will open east of the boulevard in August.
The stretch of roadway to be widened is bookended by a growing shopping center on its north end, at S.R. 64, and Lakewood Ranch High School and a planned shopping center to the south, near S.R. 70.This is only the beginning. Developers have big plans for the largely untapped north end of Lakewood Ranch.The largest are two massive developments, together totaling about 8,000 homes, for north of S.R. 70 that SMR will soon pitch to the county.
Neal Communities is planning an 800-unit development at at 44th Avenue East and Lakewood Ranch Boulevard. The project includes 150,000 square feet of commercial space.Other proposed projects would offer hundreds more homes."It's going to keep going on and on that way," said County Commissioner Donna Hayes, who represents the area. "We're going to need that six-lane capacity."
Road work will not likely begin for at least several years, said Tim Martin, president of Lakewood Ranch Development.Much will depend on the housing market and, by extension, the growth of commercial development on the north end of Lakewood Ranch, Martin said."We're just trying to be good stewards of the land and get out in front of it," Martin said.SMR won the Manatee County Commission's approval for the concept Tuesday.SMR also wants to eventually six-lane Lakewood Ranch Boulevard south of University Parkway, but Sarasota County officials want SMR to build a "village" there with two-lane streets.

new group to take action for tax change

Like the Boston tea Party, there are a few groups in FL that are taking action, the "citizeens for property tax reform out of miami seems organized, and ready to actually succeed in the mission to get something to a vote. I encourage you to spread the word about this petition and help get signatures to get this passed.

from th sarasota herald June 20, 2007
their web site where you can download a petition.
www.propertytaxreformnow.com
Citizen tax plan gains momentum
Broker rallies diverse groups around measure expanding scope of "Save Our Homes"

See the full article:
http://forums.heraldtribune.com/groupee/forums?a=dl&f=3941081465&s=3341001365&x_id=706200659&x_subject=Citizen+tax+plan+gains+momentum&x_link=http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070620/BUSINESS/706200659
By MICHAEL POLLICK



michael.pollick@heraldtribune.com

There is a feverish race going on to offer alternatives to the Florida Legislature's "Super Exemption" constitutional amendment, which is already plugged into the Jan. 29 ballot.

At the head of the pack is Cuban mortgage broker Bernie Navarro.

The Miami man's group, Citizens for Property Tax Reform, has gotten top legal talent to draft a workable constitutional amendment that they they call the "30-40-50 Plan." The group is also raising money, gathering signatures and scrambling to find volunteer managers for each Florida county.

Navarro and his chief supporters plan to meet soon with another citizens action group with deep west coast roots, the Florida Taxpayers Alliance.

"We need to unite under one cause," Navarro said Tuesday. "If we really want to effect change we need to get behind something that is researched and has legs to it."

Unlike the Legislature, which needed only slightly more than 100 votes to put its tax reform onto the ballot, those challenging that proposal need 61,000 signatures just to get their amendment reviewed by the Florida Supreme Court.

Then the groups need another 550,000 signatures to get on the ballot, for a total of 611,000, a figure representing 10 percent of the number of people who voted in the last election.

They have just six months to get it done.

30-40-50? What's that?

Across the top of the home page for 30-40-50 is a graphic representation of the Boston Tea Party, one of the flash points for the Revolutionary War.

Likewise, 30-40-50 definitely qualifies for the adjective "revolutionary."

It would force a slashing of city and county budgets throughout the state and require extensive retooling of local government. The amendment would not attempt to dictate spending -- just tax revenues. School revenues would be exempt.

"Since we are bound by having a single issue in a constitutional amendment, the language is very specific," Navarro said. "We can't talk about expenditures. We might get thrown out."

The amendment would leave Save Our Homes unscathed and essentially serve to expand its scope.

The Legislature, in the fast-paced special session that ended Thursday, passed a reform bill providing homesteaders with a new choice in addition to Save Our Homes, which limits the growth in a homesteaders taxable value. The new super exemption can be worth up to $195,000 on a $500,000 home. But it does not apply to businesses or to non-homesteaded properties, the ones carrying the heaviest property tax burdens.

Legislators' other proposal is already law, one requiring governments to roll back their property tax collections by amounts averaging 7 percent. It provides modest relief to everybody who pays property tax, but not enough to suit the tax activists.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

tax laws opinions and reactions

It has been a week since the announced change, and really no one is stepping up to defend the legislation, I think that Charlie Crist is going to have to be the major advocate. Although, I think that there will be a backlash from previous supporters, namely, firefighters, police, and teachers. I think that is unfair of these political groups to instill fear into voters.
the reform is a joke though because the non-voter snowbirds, and second home owners will not be helped.
Further, the tax reform does nothing to lower milage rates, so the taxes could easily escalate.
What happened to Rubio's proposal to increase sales tax, and ELIMINATE property tax.
We need real reform, the tension is HIGH, and if they do not fix the problem, the real estate market will get worse.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Harold Bubil
A look back at summer of 2005
Harold Bubil is on vacation. This column appeared on Sept. 17, 2005, as the real estate boom was starting to unravel.Cheryl Loeffler wasn't kidding when she told me that many people think all Realtors do "is talk on our cell phones and drive around all day collecting commission checks."The Prudential Palms Realty agent (now with Sky Sotheby's), who specializes in Sarasota's luxury condominium market, laughs at that scenario. She knows the job is hard, and it's getting harder -- something home sellers will not want to hear."Buyers are getting tougher because they're having to pay these huge prices," Loeffler told me recently. To close deals, "We're constantly putting out fires."Although it's too early to say the boom is over, I'm hearing from other Realtors that buyers are starting to resist the rapid rise in home values. One top-selling Realtor told me recently, "It has not been my favorite summer." She said it's getting more difficult to make deals in her specialty -- the upper end of the market, where 449 Sarasota-area properties are now listed on Realtor.com at $1 million or more.The good news for Realtors, who for more than a year have been crying for something to sell, is that listings are up. Last spring, said Joe Murphy of Coldwell Banker in Manatee County, his team had four listings. Now they have 22.The bad news for sellers is that their agents are having to work harder to sell them. On Wednesday, Murphy and his team spent $1,500 to cater a mini-tour for Realtors of four homes in Waterlefe Golf & River Club, off State Road 64 in east Manatee. Three of the houses are priced at $1.25 million or more. His expenditures for advertising, direct mailing and other marketing costs are going up, too."Six months ago, you'd put a sign in the yard and the house would be gone," he said. "Now we have to work at it."Part of the reason is it's the slow time of year, Murphy said. It will be interesting to see how the market fares in the coming winter season.But if, indeed, a little air is being let out of the "real estate bubble," it won't be soon enough to prevent other problems, according to this week's edition of The Economist. The magazine says America's housing boom "is leaving the economy exposed not only to a cooling of property prices, but also to long-term costs. By diverting resources away from more productive sectors and by fueling consumer spending, the property boom is exacerbating America's imbalances, such as its large current-account deficit. Eventually, there will be a price to pay."For more real estate content, including blogs and podcasts, go online to heraldtribune.com/realestate.
From the Sarasota Herald June 16, 2007 Front page article
Plan for tax relief reform has many enemies, but who will be pressing for it?
By JOE FOLLICK
H-T CAPITAL BUREAUjfollick@earthlink.net



TALLAHASSEE -- As Floridians consider drastically revamping their tax system over the next seven months, they will hear plenty of advice to just say "no."Though it sailed through the Legislature this week, a key part of the property tax reform plan has only tepid support even among some of the legislators who voted for it, including Bradenton Sen. Mike Bennett.Others are openly hostile, led by a long list of public officials eager to protect revenue that would be lost if voters approve a constitutional change on Jan. 29 that could deeply cut property tax bills."You've got to fight the PTA, you're going to fight librarians, you've got to fight firefighters," said Rep. Jack Seiler, D-Wilton Manors and an opponent of the measure lawmakers approved on Thursday.Seiler envisions parents taking their children to libraries or soccer practice and receiving fliers warning those programs will be killed if the measure passes."You're going to go up against a machine," Seiler said.Just which groups will be willing to invest money, time and political capital in fighting for the plan is not as clear."I don't know who's going to be the champions promoting it," said Sen. Jim King, R-Jacksonville, who voted for the plan. "I do know who's going to be the naysayers, and the naysayers are fairly prominent and visible citizens in the community."Voters will be deciding on a constitutional change that would allow them to keep their current tax caps and levels or switch to a new "super exemption" worth up to $195,000 for a $500,000 home.But that switch would also bring future assessment increases that could be greater than the current Save Our Homes cap of 3 percent annually.Beyond battling for public favor against popular groups like teachers and firefighters, the hurdle of gaining 60 percent approval is a high one.Voters approved a change last year raising the necessary vote to change the constitution from 50 to 60 percent.Popular changes to the constitution that did not receive 60 percent in recent years include the limits on class sizes, the mandate for free pre-K classes and the 1992 vote to implement the Save Our Homes cap on assessment increases that has caused the current crisis.Gov. Charlie Crist, carrying 70 percent approval ratings, would be the most powerful campaign force for the initiative.Asked Thursday night how active he would be in pushing for passage, he said, "as much as I can."The January vote could set Crist on the opposite side of groups that have supported him passionately, including law enforcement officers. And his newfound allies in public schools will also bristle at the projected loss of $1.5 billion annually if the plan passes."That's going to make it tough for him to campaign hard," said Seiler, who was Crist's guest at the governor's mansion last week for a talk about the tax cuts. "He can't be openly opposed to their interests."Sen. Steve Geller, D-Hallandale Beach, was more blunt in his advice for his friend."I'd claim victory and flee. He's already had his moment in the sun," Geller said of the passage of a separate bill cutting taxes by nearly $16 billion immediately. "Now he needs to stay away from the campaign which will turn to the largest education funding cut in the history of the state, the largest cut in fire fighting in the state ..."One group that will ask voters to approve the change is the Florida Association of Realtors, which views the removal of the Save Our Homes cap as a needed spark so homeowners can move without facing drastically steeper tax bills."We do support the ballot initiative for next January," said John Sebree, vice president for public policy for the association, adding that it was too early to tell how much the group might invest in a campaign.Another group that would stand to benefit from a rejuvenated real estate market is the Florida Home Builders Association.But Edie Ousley, a spokeswoman for the group, said the association "has not taken a position" on campaigning. She said the phase-out of Save Our Homes is favored by most of the group's members, but the absence of help for non-residents who own second homes in the state may be a sticking point.Bennett, the senator from Bradenton, is a developer and ally of the construction industry. He said the vote is "going to fail" and that lawmakers should have considered limits on impact fees assessed on new homes around the state that local governments might raise if their tax revenue is cut."I think that (builders) are hoping it will fail and then we would have to go back into it next year and address it," he said.Business groups traditionally aligned with lower taxes and the Republican Party are neutral for now on the January vote.On one hand, the ballot measure includes a cut in the tangible property tax that would eliminate the tax for most of the 1.3 million businesses in the state.But the super exemption does nothing for businesses and the failure to immediately abolish Save Our Homes means businesses would still be paying a disproportionate share of property taxes.."Because it is a single package, take it or leave it, we will be gauging small-business owners' opinions on the full proposal to determine our position," said Bill Herrle, executive director of the National Federation of Independent Business in Florida.Adam Babington, the property tax coalition coordinator for the Florida Chamber of Commerce, said the state's largest business group was still trying to figure out the plan's ramifications.Also hindering passage is lukewarm support from some lawmakers who voted for the plan.Sen. Dennis Jones, R-Seminole, said he voted for the plan Thursday to give voters a choice. But he will vote against it in January. He said the failure to help coastal businesses paying high taxes, and the lack of significant help for his retired constituents who want to move, left him feeling sour."I would be amazed if it ever passed," Jones said.
Last modified: June 16. 2007 4:41AM

Thursday, June 14, 2007

It will be interesting to see the market reaction to the law passing so quickly, The effects in Manatee county with the timing could really cause some change in the market.


Joe Murphy
Alhough very watered down from the inital proposals the legislature quickly passed the proposed the tax reform. Luckily, they preservered the Save our homes, as an option, or the "super exemption", which is really not that super unless you own a home that you recently bought, and that is less than 400k, and you plan to sell the property at some time in the near future. this should create some major press tommorow.

From the Miami Herald

Legislature passes property tax cut proposal

BY MARC CAPUTO
mcaputo@MiamiHerald.com TALLAHASSEE -- The state Legislature just passed the biggest property-tax cut in state history, immediately rolling back and capping local-government spending and asking voters to supersize homeowner tax exemptions. Eight days ahead of schedule, lawmakers ended the special session at 6:26 p.m. shortly after the House, by a party-line 74-43 vote, passed the proposed constitutional amendment for the tax exemptions. The outcome of the two-step plan was largely a foregone conclusion Thursday morning, with only one real question remaining: Would Senate Democrats agree to put amendment on the Jan. 29 ballot? They did, despite the urging of Senate Democratic Leader Steve Geller. He wanted the proposed constitutional amendment on the November 2008 general election ballot, figuring more independent voters and Democrats are likely to show then and vote against it. To make the amendment more palatable to voters, Republicans changed it so it wouldn't force homeowners into the new tax system and lose their Save Our Homes tax cap. That would reduce the five-year anticipated tax savings to about $9 billion, down from $16 billion. Regardless, Republicans said the point was made, and the cuts are real. ''We're putting up a stop sign for local government,'' said Rep. Frank Attkisson, a Kissimmee Republican. Democrats in both chambers bashed the constitutional amendment, saying it primarily helps homeowners -- rather than owners of other types of real estate -- and cuts too much from schools: $7.2 billion over four years. Nevertheless, House Democrats joined the vote for the Jan. 29 election date, cast a party-line vote for the amendment itself and a near-unanimous vote for the rollback-and-cap plan. Rep. Jim Waldman, a Coconut Creek Democrat, cast the lone dissent in the 117-1 vote. Voting no is ''the right thing to do. What they're proposing is to devastate local government,'' the freshman lawmaker said, calling the Legislature ''hypocritical'' for raising school property-taxes in next year's budget while cutting those taxes for local government. Said Senate President Ken Pruitt: ``If [local governments] allowed it to get to that point, that a $15 billion hit -- or even a $30 billion hit -- is going to bankrupt your community and projects are going to stop and this is the end of the good life as we know it, then you've got some real explaining to do to your local constituents.'' Sen. Mike Haridopolos, a Melbourne Republican, acknowledged the proposal isn't ``perfect. You'll never get one of those out of Tallahassee.'' But he pointed out the plan gives deep tax relief, helps solve the portability issue and ultimately leaves voters in charge of approving the constitutional amendment. Republicans also changed the plan to allow people to keep their existing protection under the Save Our Homes provision. Originally, the proposed constitutional amendment sought to phase out Save Our Homes and force homeowners from enjoying its protections if they benefited from the new system. The new system would supersize homestead exemptions, giving homeowners a 75 percent write-off on their first $200,000 in market-based ''just value'' and an additional 15 percent write-off on the next $300,000. Earlier in this week's special session on property taxes, Democrats made much of the fact that Save Our Homes would disappear for some, but that their tax-assessment increases could be greater in future years. But Democrats opposed the fix when it was brought up Thursday morning. Sen. Ted Deutch, a Boca Raton Democrat, said the new proposal exemplified all that was wrong with the tax bill's secretive, last-minute changes sprung on the public. Deutch pointed out that no one knew what the cost of the fix would be. But Republican Sen. Don Gaetz of Fort Walton Beach marveled at the ''role reversal,'' with Democrats fighting something they once appeared to support. Earlier in the day, he said Democrats just opposed tax reform regardless of what was proposed. With the exception of Waldman, Gaetz was wrong. Democrats voted for the $15.6 billion in tax cuts from the rollbacks.