Tax exemption for Realtors called 'unconstitutional'
By Meisha Perrin
Despite the unanimous first reading passage of a City of Miami ordinance that would exempt any licensed and operating real estate broker associate or sales associate from the requirement to apply for an exemption from a local business tax, pay a local business tax or obtain a local business tax receipt, commissioners last week deferred the item on second reading after Commissioner Marc Sarnoff insisted it was unconstitutional.
"This is an illegal exemption," Mr. Sarnoff said. "There's no reason why a real estate salesperson should be treated any differently from a CPA or a lawyer."
Commissioner Sarnoff, who previously voted for the ordinance to be approved, admitted he made a mistake and did not listen to it clearly during the ordinance's first reading.
"My understanding was that we were just following state law," Commissioner Frank Carollo said. "But that is why there is a second reading."
For Mr. Sarnoff, who said he had also given the state the benefit of the doubt the first time, the next question was, "How did the state approve this?"
Following the recommendation of City Attorney Julie O. Bru to defer the ordinance proposal pending further research, there was another unanimous vote — this time on a motion by Commissioner Wifredo Gort to defer the ordinance until the commission's July 26 meeting to give commissioners more time for analysis.