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Friday, December 23, 2011

This is what the Homestead Tax Credit could look like, if this was Florida

An example of how Homestead exemptions work out for one Charlestown property owner
By Will Collette

Two people who didn’t speak at the December 12 “Riot of the Rich” at the Charlestown Town Council were Kallie and John Jurgens, the immediate past president and treasurer respectively of the Charlestown Citizens Alliance. Both of them still serve on the CCA Steering Committee and both had a lot at stake.

I have a theory why the CCA didn’t roll out these two big guns. It’s not like Kallie Jurgens is bashful about advocating for reducing taxes on big-ticket shoreline property owners, or demanding that non-residents be given the right to vote. It’s not that Ms. Jurgens is bashful about accusing Democrats of engaging in “class war” when they advocate for working families.

Ms. Jurgens has done this, and more, while CCA President and as a leader within the RI Statewide Coalition.

It’s something else.

Life in Florida is good
What it is, in my opinion, is this: the Jurgenses received a 67% Homestead Tax exemption when they declared their residence to be Stuart, Florida, in Martin County.

Their condo in Florida has an assessed tax value of $75,000.

They receive one Homestead Tax exemption of $25,000 on all taxes.

They receive one Homestead Tax exemption for $25,000 from Stuart, Florida, on all non-school taxes from the city.

They receive a second Homestead Tax exemption for $25,000 from Martin County on all non-school taxes from the county.

That’s $50,000 off their $75,000 assessment for city taxes and the same for county taxes.

That's a 67% reduction in their Florida property tax bill because they declare that to be their permanent home.

See their actual tax summary below.

After you’ve taken a good, hard look at Kallie and John Jurgens’s tax bill, with $50,000 in valuation lopped off through a double Homestead exemption, think about what happened at the December 12 Town Council meeting.

A proposal by town Democrats no less honorable than the deal the Jurgens get in Florida was excoriated by a horde of angry non-resident homeowners as “divisive,” “shameless,” “class warfare” and more. The town council majority, including the two CCA-endorsed members Tom Gentz (present CCA Secretary) and Dan Slattery (former CCA President) plus their ally, Lisa DiBello, strangled the Charlestown Democrat’s proposed $1000 Homestead Tax Credit in its cradle.

Homeowners who make their home here in Charlestown should ask Councilors Gentz, Slattery and DiBello why it’s bad for Charlestown residents to have something that is good enough for the Jurgenses to get in Florida. For now, if you want the same deal as the Jurgenses, you'll just have to become a Florida resident - read here to find out how easy that is.

Here’s the summary of the Jurgenses’ taxes: