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Florida Property Tax, Amendment 4 (2012)
|Referred by:||Florida State Legislature|
The proposed amendment would have prohibited increases in the assessed value of homestead property if the fair market value of the property decreases; reduced the limitation on annual assessment increases to non-homestead property; and provided an additional homestead exemption.
Specifically, non-homestead or commercial property would have had their assessment increases capped at 5 percent per year.
Additionally, the measure would have implemented an additional homestead exemption for first-time buyers equal to 50 percent of the home's value capped at the median home value in the county. The additional exemption would be reduced by 20 percent per year, expiring after 5 years.
Finally, the measure, if passed, would have given the Legislature authority to fix the "recapture" rule, which is when property taxes increase, even when the property value has decreased.
The proposed measure required 60 percent voter approval for adoption.
- See also: 2012 ballot measure election results
|Florida Amendment 4|
These results are certified and final.
Results via the Florida Department of Election's website.
Text of measure
The official ballot text read as follows:
ARTICLE VII, SECTIONS 4, 6PROPERTY TAX LIMITATIONS; PROPERTY VALUE DECLINE; REDUCTION FOR NONHOMESTEAD ASSESSMENT INCREASES; DELAY OF SCHEDULED REPEAL.—(1) This would amend Florida Constitution Article VII, Section 4 (Taxation; assessments) and Section 6 (Homestead exemptions). It also would amend Article XII, Section 27, and add Sections 32 and 33, relating to the Schedule for the amendments. (2) In certain circumstances, the law requires the assessed value of homestead and specified nonhomestead property to increase when the just value of the property decreases. Therefore, this amendment provides that the Legislature may, by general law, provide that the assessment of homestead and specified nonhomestead property may not increase if the just value of that property is less than the just value of the property on the preceding January 1, subject to any adjustment in the assessed value due to changes, additions, reductions, or improvements to such property which are assessed as provided for by general law. This amendment takes effect upon approval by the voters. If approved at a special election held on the date of the 2012 presidential preference primary, it shall operate retroactively to January 1, 2012, or, if approved at the 2012 general election, shall take effect January 1, 2013. (3) This amendment reduces from 10 percent to 5 percent the limitation on annual changes in assessments of nonhomestead real property. This amendment takes effect upon approval of the voters. If approved at a special election held on the date of the 2012 presidential preference primary, it shall operate retroactively to January 1, 2012, or, if approved at the 2012 general election, takes effect January 1, 2013. (4) This amendment also authorizes general law to provide, subject to conditions specified in such law, an additional homestead exemption to every person who establishes the right to receive the homestead exemption provided in the Florida Constitution within 1 year after purchasing the homestead property and who has not owned property in the previous 3 calendar years to which the Florida homestead exemption applied. The additional homestead exemption shall apply to all levies except school district levies. The additional exemption is an amount equal to 50 percent of the homestead property's just value on January 1 of the year the homestead is established. The additional homestead exemption may not exceed an amount equal to the median just value of all homestead property within the county where the property at issue is located for the calendar year immediately preceding January 1 of the year the homestead is established. The additional exemption shall apply for the shorter of 5 years or the year of sale of the property. The amount of the additional exemption shall be reduced in each subsequent year by an amount equal to 20 percent of the amount of the additional exemption received in the year the homestead was established or by an amount equal to the difference between the just value of the property and the assessed value of the property determined under Article VII, Section 4(d), whichever is greater. Not more than one such exemption shall be allowed per homestead property at one time. The additional exemption applies to property purchased on or after January 1, 2011, if approved by the voters at a special election held on the date of the 2012 presidential preference primary, or to property purchased on or after January 1, 2012, if approved by the voters at the 2012 general election. The additional exemption is not available in the sixth and subsequent years after it is first received. The amendment shall take effect upon approval by the voters. If approved at a special election held on the date of the 2012 presidential preference primary, it shall operate retroactively to January 1, 2012, or, if approved at the 2012 general election, takes effect January 1, 2013. (5) This amendment also delays until 2023, the repeal, currently scheduled to take effect in 2019, of constitutional amendments adopted in 2008 which limit annual assessment increases for specified nonhomestead real property. This amendment delays until 2022 the submission of an amendment proposing the abrogation of such repeal to the voters.
ARTICLE XII, SECTIONS 27, 32, 33
The Florida Legislature proposed what became Amendment 4 in 2011. Representative Chris Dorworth and Senator Mike Fasano filed HJR 381 and HJR 658, respectively. HJR 381 passed at the beginning of May 2011. 
Proposed change to Amendment 4:
In mid-November 2011 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. Simmons has been working with the Florida Association of Counties, opponents of the current proposal, to amend the language. Properties would also be subject to a "true up", where their assessed values would be adjusted to market value every 5 years. This could potentially cause large increases in property taxes every 5 years. This proposed change did not pass. 
According to the Collins Center for Public Policy, supporters argued that the amendment would make Florida property taxation fairer, help grow the real estate markets, and make Florida more attractive to out of state investors.
Florida TaxWatch, a nonpartisan, non-profit research institute, found that the passage of Amendment 4 would create 19,483 jobs, increase state GDP by $1.1 billion, and increase personal income by $5.3 billion. They also found that the passage of this amendment would mean additional sales of 319,861 to 383,810 homes. These figures are all over a 10 year period.
- According to the Collins Center for Public Policy, opponents alleged that the measure would create disparities in taxation and erode the tax base by an estimated $1 billion over the next three years. They added that this would negatively impact local governments' abilities to provide basic services.
- On October 1, 2012, the Greenacres City Council passed a resolution in opposition to the amendment. Reportedly, the council was afraid of further reductions in revenue from property tax following the 2008 house market collapse.
Path to the ballot
On May 2, 2011, the House voted 105-11 in favor of referring the proposed measure to the statewide ballot. On May 4, 2011, the Senate voted 25-12 on the proposed measure; thus referring the proposal to the statewide ballot.
The following is a timeline of events surrounding the measure:
|Vote||May 2, 2011||The Florida House of Representatives approved the measure, 105 to 11.|
|Vote||May 4, 2011||The Florida State Senate approved the measure, 25 to 12.|
- The Miami Herald,"Lawmakers ask voters to weigh in on abortion, taxes and more issues in 2012," May 11, 2011
- The Herald Tribune,"Legislature passes 7 ballot items for 2012," May 6, 2011
- The Tampa Tribune,"Senate OKs property tax relief measures," May 4, 2011
- Orlando Sentinel,"Realtors-backed special election gets rolling," April 26, 2011
- The Ledger,"Florida Legislature Considers Property Tax Cuts," April 17, 2011
- The Palm Beach Post,"Scott warns he won't sign budget unless it cuts taxes," April 16, 2011
- Florida House of Representatives,"HJR 381 full text," retrieved April 6, 2011
- The Tampa Tribune,"Senate OKs property tax relief measures," May 4, 2011
- St. Petersburg Times,"House Panel OKs Property Tax Cut for Ballot," March 22, 2011
- Florida Secretary of State,"Amendment 4," retrieved September 25, 2012
- Sunshine State News,"Senate Working to Change 2012 Property-Tax Amendment," November 15, 2011
- Orlando Sentinel,"Senate advancing a re-tooled property tax amendment for 2012," November 14, 2011
- SJR 314
- Collins Center for Public Policy,"Amendment 4," retrieved October 2, 2012
- Palm Beach Post,"Greenacres opposes ballot question that would create additional property tax breaks," October 1, 2012
- Florida House of Representatives,"May 2 vote on HJR 381," retrieved May 4, 2011
- Associated Press,"Fla. House passes tax relief amendment for ballot," May 2, 2011
- The Palm Beach Post,"House passes ballot question meant to reduce taxes on commercial properties," May 2, 2011
- The Palm Beach Post,"Legislature puts four amendments up for vote in 2012," May 5, 2011
- Florida House of Representatives,"May 4 vote on HJR 381," May 4, 2011