Curry is cutting a thin slice of pie for the voters 

Mayor Lenny Curry will present his proposed budget for the coming year Thursday and has promised a tax cut. 

Sort of. 

The city’s general fund largely is funded by property taxes. Because of a healthy increase in property values – about $10 billion worth – the city is rolling in dough. 

If the tax rate remained the same, the city would get $102 million more next year from property taxes. 

However, local governments must vote to set the tax rate above the rollback rate that they are required to calculate. 

The current countywide tax rate is 11.4419. The rollback would be 10.3761. That means you should be taxed at $10.37 for every $1,000 of property value, rather than $11.44 because increased valuations provide enough to produce the same revenue as the previous year. New additions to the tax roll do not go into the rollback calculation, which means the city will get $26 million in new revenue no matter what. 

But Curry probably will not recommend the full rollback. 

Based on documents the city filed with the state, he apparently intends to let property owners keep about $10 million of the $102 million at stake. 

In other words, when he slices the pie, Curry will serve you one-tenth and keep nine-tenths for the politicians and bureaucrats to devour. 

(We would ask Curry about this, but he doesn’t deign to speak with writers for Eye on Jacksonville, for reasons of his own.) 

Curry has tweeted that he wants to “invest” (spend your money) on law enforcement, infrastructure and economic development. 

While those are all worthy government endeavors, there are the not unworthy considerations of need and the ability to pay. 

Curry and the City Council have dedicated billions of dollars to infrastructure improvement, on top of billions spent in the previous years. Crime rates are up a bit but there is little evidence that hiring more cops will change that trend, which fluctuates. 

Jacksonville citizens are not overtaxed.  

The statewide average property tax bill, on a per capita basis, is $1,810 (2021). In Duval County, it is $1,407. That is lower than the Miami, Tampa and Orlando areas. 

However, in a comparison of total municipal expenditures per capita, Duval ranks third behind Monroe and Dade counties, at $5,092 (2020). So it isn’t like local residents are not “paying their fair share.”  

This will be the last budget approved before next spring’s city elections. Curry is a lame duck and doesn’t care, but council members who plan to run for re-election might want to take mercy on the taxpayer/voters when they approve next year’s budget. 

Lloyd Brown

Lloyd was born in Jacksonville. Graduated from the University of North Florida. He spent nearly 50 years of his life in the newspaper business …beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor for Florida Times Union. He has also been published in a number of national newspapers and magazines, as well as Internet sites. Married with children. Military Vet. Retired. Man of few words but the words are researched well, deeply considered and thoughtfully written.


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