Yesterday was Primary Tuesday here in the not very bright state of Florida (I am not speaking of the sunshine, but of the general intellect). It was actually a very exciting day in the LeftLeaning household, because my son reached the ripe old age of 18 last year and this was his first trip to the polls. (We are allowed to vote early, but it is inconvenient and out of the way for us. Plus I like going to my polling place.)
I left work at my appointed time and drove to the church where I vote. I actually stood in line for a few minutes. I have been voting in the same place since 2002 and this is the first time I have stood in line. Normally there are only a couple of people there when I am, but yesterday it was pretty packed. I was hoping it was busier than normal because there were more voters out. I was hoping there were more voters out to show Dubya (and Howard Dean) that the American public was NOT going to take it anymore! With so many extra voters and my son's first time voting, I was a little misty over the entire process and very proud to be an American!
My son said I was just dreaming. According to him, there were more people at the polls, because most are greedy bastards and were just interested in having their property taxes reduced. Sadly, he appears to be right. People flocked to the Florida polls yesterday to save themselves some money. Amendment 1 to the Florida Constitution passed with 64.4% of the votes.
So we (homeowners) will see a drop in our tax bills, and the Florida government will see a drop in its tax revenues and the world will be a happy place, right? WRONG. My property tax bill was not all that high to begin with. That has something to do with the fact that I bought a house that I can afford, with a 30 year mortgage, at a fixed interest rate. I didn't buy a house that was out of my price range, with an ARM, or an interest only loan that now I can't pay the bill on now. Plus, the state of Florida already had a $2,000,000,000.00 budget shortfall (yes, BILLION) before taxes dropped; I can't even imagine what it will be now.
Who is this going to help? Well, the rich, of course. Those who own many homes which are rented out. Those who can afford to own a vacation home, especially people from out of state. Now they won't have to pay such high taxes on the rental properties/vacation homes.
It will help some of the older citizens who want to move into a smaller home and it will, hopefully, help some small business owners who were being taxed out of business. I would have voted yes to help the small business owner had all the parts of this amendment been separate, but that is the only one I would have voted yes on.
Who will this hurt? Who does all the tax cuts eventually hurt? The poor, because they don't own their own homes anyway, and the programs are going to be cut. The elderly or disabled, because Medicare was already in freefall over the shortfall. Hopefully, the senior citizens save some of the money they will save when moving into a smaller house to pay their doctor bills. The children, because the schools will not be updated, the teachers will not get raises, the books will not be bought.
But this amendment will save me about $240 a year. Me, me, me, me, ME! Isn't that what it is all about?