The Pulp want's to give a warm welcome this a.m. to new Tribune Co. czar Sam Zell, who is making his first trip to Fort Lauderdale. The trip dispels Thom Fiddler's repeated assertions that Zell, in fact, didn't realize he owned the Sun-Sentinel.
Should get more on that later. As for the news this morning, got to give a shout-out to Harriet Johnson Brackey, who followed up a pollyanna piece on the fed rate cuts (yesterday's half-point shave proved to be little more than a crack hit for the struggling stock market, which looks to be a bit strung out this morning) with a realistic look at the economy this morning (co-written with Paul Owers). The lede:
Now that Florida has approved portable and perhaps more affordable property tax bills, the Federal Reserve has cut interest rates and consumers could have tax rebate checks in hand by summer, there is a new economic outlook.
The outlook, a growing number of economic forecasters say, is that all these measures may not be enough to halt the housing slump in Florida and the nation. The housing market has been tanking for almost two years. And South Floridians feel it.
Better late than never. The housing market is going to go down for another year. Foreclosures will continue. The banks nefarious subprime practices will keep coming to light.
It's gloomy. That said, portability in Florida might move some real estate. I know a lot of people who have stayed put for tax reasons and have been waiting for this as a chance to move up (or down). And buying and selling inside a particular market is a wash. You buy low, you sell low. In fact, I believe it's better to make a move up in a down market.
So you're going to see more action the Florida market. The dark cloud looming over all of this is that portability may very well get struck down as unconstitutional. The Pulp believes it will, in fact, get tossed by the courts. Here's the $10 billion question:
Will the tax breaks for those who take advantage of portability before its reversed be grandfathered in? Or will they be reassessed and hit with a big fat tax bill?
Dan Gelber, do you know? Charlie Crist (as if!)? Anyone?