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Florida Towns May Feel Homeowners' Tax Pains

A full-fledged tax revolt is under way in Florida. While housing prices have stagnated or fallen a bit, property taxes are still rising. Homeowners' fury over the issue has led Gov. Charlie Crist to call a special session of the legislature.

Years of rising home values have brought local governments buckets of property tax money. But now, in Florida and other states, taxpayers are saying "enough."

A number of states, including New Jersey, Montana and Arizona, are working on ways to ease the still-growing tax burden.

Florida's legislature is expected to roll back property taxes next month, imposing cuts of 10 percent or more on cities and counties. Local officials say the rollback may force police and firefighter layoffs. But Florida's governor and taxpayer groups are skeptical. The question many are asking is, "Where did all the money go?"

Making the matter even thornier is a promise from Gov. Crist that he will not approve any cuts in education funding. And in Florida, as elsewhere, school spending accounts for the largest share of property taxes.

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