Gov. Scott proposes spending $558 million more on public schools

Local taxpayers would be putting money up


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Rick Scott is proposing spending $558 million more on public schools this coming year, but it's not the state that would be putting the money up. It is local taxpayers.

The assessed value of one house has grown from $117,000 to $121,000 to $124,000 this year. With each rise in value, property taxes have gone up. The governor wants to use that increase to provide more money to schools.

While the amount of money being collected from property owners is higher, Scott said it isn't a tax increase.

"If you change the rate, that's tax increase. But if you spend more money this year because you happen to buy a boat you didn't buy the year before, the state didn't raise your taxes," Scott said.

But House leaders don't see it that way.

"We will not raise property taxes. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever," House Speaker Rep. Richard Corcoran said.

If the House wins this philosophical battle, all property owners win. It Scott prevails, businesses will see a tax reduction. Both sides agreed there isn't enough money to do both.

Last year, the state used $420 million to keep the amount of required property taxes being paid from going up. The governor supported it and even claimed credit for last year's reduction.