Florida voters could offer significant property tax exemptions to Florida’s teachers, firefighters, active-duty members of the U.S. military, and other specified professions, amid a relatively hostile housing market.
But a well-meaning tax exemption may bring about other complications, such as a loss of local government tax revenue, according to a tax watchdog group. What may seem like a simple ballot initiative could mean many layers, leaving Floridians stumped on whether to support the measure or not.
Voters will go to the poll Nov. 8 on Constitutional Amendment No. 3 — the homestead property tax exemption — though early voting and mail-in ballots have already launched.
Amendment 3 is the result of a House joint resolution passed by the Florida Legislature in 2022. At least 60 percent of voters would have to approve the measure to prevail.
The Amendment states:
“Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to authorize the Legislature, by general law, to grant an additional homestead tax exemption for nonschool levies of up to $50,000 of the assessed value of homestead property owned by classroom teachers, law enforcement officers, correctional officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, child welfare services professionals, active duty members of the United States Armed Forces, and Florida National Guard members. This amendment shall take effect January 1, 2023.”
According to a legislative staff analysis, Florida homeowners already have a homestead exemption of up to $25,000 dollars. And there’s an additional exemption, also up to $25,000, which “applies to the property’s value between $50,000 and $75,000,” according to the analysis.
The League of Women Voters of Florida opposes the measure because it believes the Florida Constitution is not the place to determine tax policies.
“This proposal may have merit, but the League has a longstanding position that ‘no tax sources or revenue should be specified, limited, exempted, or prohibited in the Constitution,’ according to the organization’s website.
The website also notes that approval of the amendment could lead to a loss of revenue for local governments.
The staff analysis, which ushered in Amendment 3 to be on the ballot, reports that starting in the 2023-24 fiscal year, the tax exemption would “reduce local property tax revenue for all levies other than school district levies by $85.9 million.”
The Florida Education Association — the statewide teacher union whose clientele is composed of Florida educators — is not taking a position on Amendment 3 one way or another.
Florida TaxWatch, described as a nonpartisan, nonprofit taxpayer research institute and government watchdog, reiterates that the group supports the amendment, saying “the benefits of Amendment 3 far outweigh the negative consequences of a tax shift.”
According to TaxWatch’s 2022 voter guide: “A tax shift is not a tax cut and, although that segment of the ‘Specified Critical Public Services Workforce’ who are fortunate enough to own their own homes will benefit, the burden of additional taxes will be borne by everybody else, with higher taxes on lower-income homeowners and small businesses, and increased rents for renters (including those members of the “Specified Critical Public Services Workforce” who rent their homes).”
TaxWatch also notes that property tax revenue helps fund government services. If the revenue falls, “cities, counties, and special districts may experience difficulty maintaining important government services, such as law enforcement, fire departments, etc., without raising other taxes to make up the reduction.”
Some of the professions already have some property tax exemptions, depending on their situation, with many going to disabled veterans, according to the legislative analysis.
First responders who have a permanent service-related disability are entitled to a “complete exemption for the property.” Same for veterans who use wheelchairs due to a service-connected disability.
Veterans who are “disabled to a degree of 10 percent or more by misfortune or during wartime service” can get an exemption for any property up to $5,000.
Counties and municipalities may grant additional homestead tax exemptions to Floridians aged 65 or older whose household income equals $20,000 or lower.
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I voted no on this one. While I didn't have a problem with the active veteran members of the armed forces receiving it, I did have a problem with the others, as DeSantis said he was giving firefighters $ 1,000 dollar checks, and he has been soooo worried about teachers, and has overly compensated them, IMO. These people in this group are not poor! If it passes, the rest of the taxpayers will shoulder the burden. DeSantis is attempting to buy votes here at election time. Also, I am sick of my cell phone getting bombed with political messages out of Seminole County. This is a daily thing. Telling me who to vote for, and who not to vote for. Yeah, tired of Jason B. especially! I don't even live in Seminole County, I live in Orange Co.
Monday, October 31, 2022 Report this
I watched the local news tonight and authorities are soooo worried about low voter turn out, and don't understand why....????....Maybe, the people are sick of politicians, and politics, and are still at work doing chores since the hurricane. The heads of these voter groups would want you to stop, and cast your vote, if you were dying, and be taken to the hospital. So sorry, that the world doesn't revolve around their wants and needs.....
Monday, October 31, 2022 Report this
Voted no, because we could all use an additional homestead exemption. If they removed the LEO part of it, I would’ve voted yes.
Tuesday, November 1, 2022 Report this