It's hard to imagine Collier County leading the charge on tax cuts.
But the recent announcement that Collier County, one of the most anti-growth counties in Florida, cut taxes on new construction prompted politicians in neighboring Lee County to consider doing the same thing. So-called “impact fees” have been a barrier to recovery because these taxes add tens of thousands of dollars to the cost of new residential and commercial construction.
“The County Commission wants us to look at impact fees again,” says Mary Gibbs, director of the Lee County Department of Community Development, told a group of real estate investors in Fort Myers recently.
For the last few years, Lee County commissioners have been tone-deaf to businesses pleading for tax relief. But now that Collier's cutting its taxes, Lee commissioners are suddenly waking up to the economic reality.
Gibbs says she'll present some options to trim taxes on new construction to the commission on Nov. 1. Some of the recommendations may include lowering transportation taxes, lowering the medical-building fees by categorizing them as ordinary office space and eliminating impact fees when owners change a building's use.
Here's an idea: Why not send a message that Lee is truly open for business by eliminating these taxes altogether?