The bill contains about $700 million in new property relief, along with $250 million in already scheduled relief for 2008 and about $300 million in relief in 2009. The immediate relief should cut most homestead property tax bills by about one-third.
It also removes school operating and transportation funding and child welfare funding from local property tax, shifting the responsibility to the state.
Several elements of the House Republicans' Standards for Success were eliminated or altered in the final bill, such as a state spending cap and a strong referendum process. The bill does not have a state spending cap, and voters would be allowed to vote only on school projects not directly related to classroom learning, such as athletic fields.
"The amended bill did not contain all the elements of the House Republicans' 'Standards for Success' but contained significant property tax for our homeowners," said Rep. Foley. The bill must go forward, so I voted for it."
Although the bill has been changed from its original form, it still contains several elements that House Republicans have fought for. It offers immediate property tax relief, includes caps on property taxation and includes at least some form of public referenda on public spending.
"Some of the amendments were good, and I supported those," Rep. Foley added. "But the strangest amendment I opposed was one to transfer homestead tax rebates from individual tax payers to the counties to spend. I regard this amendment as a betrayal of promised taxpayer relief, and I hope the Senate takes it out."