Florida legislators seek to change 2012 property tax amendment prior to vote

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November 15, 2011


By Bailey Ludlam

TALLAHASSEE, Florida: Amendment 4 is one of seven ballot measures scheduled to appear on Florida's 2012 statewide ballot. All ballot language has been set, but now one faces a potential revision.

Months after being referred to the ballot in May 2011, State Sen. David Simmons proposed legislators amend or replace the language in Amendment 4. Simmons argues that the amendment will "penalize new home ownership."

The proposed revision, SJR 314, would lower the super exemption. The super exemption would be tiered at 30 percent for homes under $200,000 and 15 percent for property between $200,000 and $400,000. According to reports, Simmons has been working with the Florida Association of Counties, opponents of the current proposal, to amend the language.[1][2] Read the bill here.

As currently written, Amendment 4 would prohibit increases in the assessed value of homestead property if the fair market value of the property decreases; reduces the limitation on annual assessment increases to non-homestead property; and provides an additional homestead exemption. Specifically, non-homestead or commercial property would have their assessment increases capped at 3 percent per year. The property tax rate would also be lowered to 10 percent for rental and 5 percent for commercial properties. According to reports, this will put non-homestead or commercial property owners in line with the benefit received by homestead owners.[3]

Additionally, the measure would implement an additional homestead exemption for first-time buyers equal to 50 percent of the median home price in the county. The additional exemption, however, would be gradually reduced until it expires within 5 years.[3][4]

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