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Florida Property Tax News: Property Tax Reform Committee Proceedings

Very much in the news these days are the public meetings of the Florida Property Tax Reform Committee. The Committee was appointed by Governor Jeb Bush. The Committee is holding hearings around the state, seeking public input.

Eight meetings are scheduled in various locations across the state. On February 13, 2007, the Legislative Hearings on Property Tax Reform were held in Miami. The author of this article attended, both to hear what others had to say and to put in his own two cents worth.

The Committee’s Charge

The Committee was charged with responsibility to consider, at a minimum, the following:

• Consequences of property tax exemptions and assessment differentials;
• Appropriateness, affordability and economic consequences of property taxation levels in Florida;
• Alternative methods of assessment, including, but not limited to, split-rate and land value taxation;
• Replacement alternatives to property taxation as sources of public funding, including increased sales taxes; and
• Limitations on local government revenue and expenditures.

Topics Addressed

Topics addressed at preliminary sessions of the Property Tax Reform Committee and at Legislative Hearings on Property Tax Reform convened at Panama City, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami, include the following ideas:

• Assess business property based on current use only, instead of “highest and best use” value.
• Cap tax revenue growth for individual local governments.
• Cap tax increases on individual properties or classes of property.
• Full or partial replacement of the property tax with other forms of taxation.
• Assess properties using a moving average value of several years’ assessments instead of using just the current year’s value.
• Simplify the “Truth in Millage” annual notice of proposed property taxes to be more easily understood by taxpayers.
• Increase the amount of homestead exemption and/or index it by percentage of value.
• Institute “portability” or transferability within Florida of the Save Our Homes cap, in whole or in part.
• Phase-out the Save Our Homes tax preference.
• Partial-year assessments of improvements to real property.
• Improve or limit agricultural use classification regulations.
• Protect homestead-related property tax benefits when property is taken for public use by eminent domain.
• Protect homestead-related property tax benefits upon relocation required by military service.

Further Proceedings

A preliminary report was issued by the Committee in December 2006. A mid-term report is due on or before March 1, 2007, and a final report no later than December 1, 2007. Ultimately, the Committee is charged with responsibility to issue recommendations to improve property taxation in Florida through a comprehensive approach, with an emphasis on simplifying the system for all taxpayers.

The responsibility with which the Committee is tasked is fraught with difficulty, since any adjustment to the current system has repercussions throughout the remainder of the property tax administration system of the State. Think of it as a water balloon; if you squeeze one side, the volume of water displaced expands the rest of the balloon. The metaphor is not exactly Archimedean, but it does give you a visual image of the problems involved.

Notably, most of the changes being considered may require a constitutional amendment before implementation. This means that the most the Legislature can do is propose constitutional amendments. After that, it will be up to the voters of the State of Florida whether the proposals will be adopted.

Daniel A. Weiss is an attorney with 25 years of property tax experience and was recently named one of the “Top Lawyers” by the South Florida Legal Guide, 2007 Annual Edition. For more information go to: A. Weiss is an attorney with 25 years of property tax experience and was recently named one of the “Top Lawyers” by the South Florida Legal Guide. For more information go to:

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Real Estate Short Sales Book Updated To Reflect Current Market Trends

Real Estate Short Sales Book Updated To Reflect Current Market TrendsBurbank, CA (PR Buzz) February 2, 2013 — Released January 15, 2013, Short Sales 2013 is a new edition that is updated to reflect changes in the real estate market over the past year, with valuable insight provided by author Jean-Jacques Dege.

January 31, 2013 – The updated edition of Short Sales 2013, released January 15, reflects changes in the real estate market over the past year, which are expected to have an effect on business in the coming year and beyond. Author Jean-Jacques Dege believes 2013 will be a year of success for the real estate market and for agents. A point stressed is the importance of having listings, and targeting short sales is one way to build up an inventory when there is currently a shortage across the board.

“There is no better way than having listings than going after short sales,” said Jean-Jacques Dege, author of Short Sales 2013. “Like everything else in life, getting the right information is crucial and even more so today.”

Latching onto short sales, according the author, means picking up on the momentum seen in today's market. Selling properties such that the proceeds fall short of the balance of debts, accrued through liens, has become an essential part of the real estate business. The book is targeted at those who are just getting started in this niche but have an opportunity to start a lucrative business segment. The author believes the next 18 to 24 months are a window of opportunity for doing short sales.

“The current real estate market is the best we've had in a long time, with interest rates still historically low and the market similar to the late'90s when many people profited by purchasing real estate”, added Dege.

The author also says that doing short sales incurred more risk five years ago, during the recession when everything was in turmoil and banks were in trouble. Today's environment is much smoother than the trial and error attitude of that time. In some areas, short sales represent about 50% of sales, and provide a chance for a real estate agent to be successful.

Short Sales 2013 represents the ever-changing environment of real estate. Available on Amazon Kindle, the short sales book includes both training and knowledge. Information on how to generate leads, sell a property fast, choose the best offer, and getting lien holders approval of a short sale is included as well as much more.

About Jean-Jacques Dege

Referred with confidence by past clients and Realtors nationwide for 10+ years, Certified, CDPE, SRS, J.J. Dege, a member of the California Association of Realtors and Short Sale Specialist since 2007, has worked with all major lenders including: Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Countrywide, Wachovia, Chase, Citibank, Washington Mutual, Indy Mac, and many more.

Author in 2011 of “Short Sale Momentum”, a Book helping Real Estate agents on how to be successful with short sales, JJ Dege published a second book in 2012, “Real Estate Short Sales 2012”, and then “Short Sales 2013” in, yes, 2013.

Jean-Jacques Dege

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