Gov. Rick Scott today signed sweeping changes to Florida's water management districts that he says will amount to a $210.5 million property tax cut for homeowners and businesses in 2012.
“This property tax cut allows families and businesses to use more of their hard-earned money in the way they see best, rather than having to send it to a government agency,” he said in a statement. “In addition, with access to more information about their water management district’s budget, property owners will be able to hold them accountable for how every tax dollar is spent.”
Last month, Everglades Foundation CEO Kirk Fordham asked Scott to veto the proposal, arguing the state's then-policies already created a "depoliticized stage for water policy decisions."
Further, Fordham wrote, one of the changes would rob Scott of some executive power, as it grants both the Legislature and the governor the ability to reject the budgets of Florida's five water management districts. That power used to belong to the governor alone.
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Here's Scott's release:
West Palm Beach, Fla. – Keeping his promise to reduce property taxes, Governor Rick Scott today signed legislation that will save homeowners and businesses throughout Florida $210.5 million on property taxes due in 2012. Senate Bill 2142 caps the taxes Florida’s five water management districts can assess on residential and commercial properties.
Across four of the five water management districts, property owners will save an average of 30 percent on their 2011-12 property taxes. Residents will see varying levels of savings, depending on where their property is located. Property owners in the Southwest Florida Water Management District will see the greatest savings. Savings for all five districts are as follows:
Southwest Florida Water Management District 36% reduction South Florida Water Management District 30% reduction St. Johns Water Management District 26% reduction Suwannee River Water Management District 8% reduction Northwest Florida Water Management District No increase
In addition, citizens will have more access to information about each water management district’s budget. Each district is required to provide a monthly financial statement to its governing board and make the information available to the public on the district’s website.
“This property tax cut allows families and businesses to use more of their hard-earned money in the way they see best, rather than having to send it to a government agency,” Governor Scott said. “In addition, with access to more information about their water management district’s budget, property owners will be able to hold them accountable for how every tax dollar is spent.”