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Mike Merrill

At Tampa Tiger Bay, local officials bemoan expected expansion of homestead exemption

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

While it won’t go into effect for another year and a half, the expected passage of a constitutional amendment expanding the homestead exemption is already giving local officials severe headaches. Amendment 1 asks voters to approve an expansion of the homestead exemption from $50,000 to $75,000 of the first $100,000 of a home’s taxable value. State lawmakers who supported it said the average homeowner would save about $275 per year, based on the statewide average home value of $220,000 and an…

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Sean Shaw to town hall audience: ‘Hold me accountable’

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Being part of a legislative caucus with little political power has been the plight of Democrats elected to the Florida House for going on two decades, but state Representative Sean Shaw told a town hall audience of about 40 people Monday night that it’s their job to hold him accountable in Tallahassee, regardless of his party’s minority status. “Let me tell you what we do not as a community do very well – hold our elected officials accountable,” Shaw said…

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As Hillsborough PTC winds down, one board member asks about job opportunities for staffers

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

With less than six months to go before the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission is officially dissolved, one board member wants to know if the County Commission is doing enough to find jobs for staffers facing unemployment. County officials are still working with PTC interim executive director Kevin Jackson on how the agency’s workload will be transitioned into other county departments after the Legislature passed a bill ordering the agency’s demise. As it stands, the Sheriff’s Office will pick up the enforcement…

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Hillsborough won’t officially recognize Pulse shooting anniversary, disappointing some

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Monday, June 12, will be one year since the mass shooting of 49 people at the popular Pulse LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando. Less than 48 hours after that horrific night, Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner, County Administrator Mike Merrill, and a handful of Hillsborough County sheriff deputies participated in an event in Ybor City honoring the victims. At their next meeting, Commissioners supported Beckner’s motion to raise an LGBT Pride flag at the County Center for the remainder of June, also in honor of the victims.…

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Ken Hagan doesn’t understand why Tallahassee Republicans seemingly ‘loathe’ local government’

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Republicans in Tallahassee have left Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan scratching his head. Plenty of city and county government officials have recently disparaged members of the Florida Legislature for passing a measure to expand the homestead exemption, which could ultimately deprive them of millions of dollars of revenues in the coming years. As for Hagan, a lifelong Hillsborough County Republican, he doesn’t have that big of an issue with his fellow GOP state lawmakers over that matter. But Hagan certainly does have a problem with…

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Tampa to face new financial challenges even before potential 2018 ballot measure hits

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

The Florida Legislature’s approval of a constitutional amendment for the 2018 ballot that could severely reduce the level of revenue coming to local governments is just the latest challenge to Tampa’s fiscal health, Chief Financial Officer Sonya Little told the City Council Thursday. If passed by voters, the measure would expand the state homestead property tax exemption to $75,000. Over 4 million Floridians currently receive the current homestead exemption, which lowers the taxable value on a primary residence by $50,000. “We’re projecting a roughly $6 million…

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Tampa City Council wants lawmakers to explain bill that would have gutted CRA’s

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

A proposal by Lithia Republican Jake Raburn (HB 13) calling for an end to all community redevelopment agencies (CRA’s) died in a legislative committee in the Florida House last month. And members of the Tampa City Council are happy about that. Raburn’s bill didn’t go as far as a related proposal by Brandon Republican Tom Lee in the Senate (SB 1770). That bill would have placed much stricter requirements on CRA’s, but it also stalled in a committee as well. At Thursday’s Tampa…

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