Florida Save Our Homes, Amendment 1 (January 2008)
Florida Amendment One, also known as the "Portability of Save Our Homes" Amendment, was a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment on the on the January 29, 2008 election ballot in Florida, where it was approved.
- The amendment modified Article VII, Sections 3,4, and 6 and Article XII, Section 27 of the Florida Constitution to allow property owners to keep some of their property tax limits when they move to a new property.
- Floridians passed the original Save Our Homes Amendment in 1992, which took effect in 1995. That measure put an annual cap of 3 percent on increases in assessed home values for property taxes. However, a loophole in the Save Our Homes Amendment lost the property tax cap for Floridians who move to a new home. This measure closed that loophole.
- The amendment was retroactively effective to January 1, 2008.
|Florida Question 1 (January 2008)|
Official results via: Florida Department of State Division of Elections
Text of measure
The ballot read:
Property Tax Exemptions; Limitations On Property Tax Assessments
Save Our Homes Portability, Inc. was the group sponsoring Florida Amendment One.
Florida Governor Charlie Crist believed that this amendment would stop residents from the "locked-in" effect which prevents homeowners or empty-nesters from moving into smaller homes as their needs or lifestyles change.
Florida State House Speaker Marco Rubio also backed the measure, saying that the state legislature had not done enough to cut down on property taxes after Gov. Crist promised during the most recent election campaign that property taxes would "drop like a rock.", He is currently promoting the Florida Cut Property Taxes Now (2008) initiative, saying it will bring real relief to Florida.
Teachers and unions generally opposed the measure. The League of Women Voters and Florida Tax Watch opposed the first amendment for Save Our Homes on the grounds that it created inequities in how properties were taxed. Florida Tax Watch also believed that the measure was "probably unconstitutional" and would certainly meet litigation on those grounds if the voters approve it.
Ballot title called confusing
While the proposed amendment itself came to 15 pages of text, a 498-word summary is what voters saw when they went to the polls on January 28. Both proponents and opponents are concerned that voters will be unsure about what they are voting on. Dominic Calabro of Florida Tax Watch said:
Since we only vote on the ballot title and summary, it's absolutely essential that it is clear, in layman's language, so you have a comfort level and really understand it because you're changing your basic rights and freedoms under the constitution. We don't think it's very clear.
Media editorial positions
The Fernando Beach News Leader says that while the current property tax system has flaws, the amendment is better than nothing and urges a "yes" vote.
The local NBC news took a different take on the recommendation to point out that if it was a simple majority the legislators wouldn't be sweating about their initiative, but instead because of their own recommendation to increase it to a super majority their initiative is likely not to pass.
Three new Florida residents filed a class action lawsuit in Leon County on November 21, 2007 asking a judge to invalidate both the original Florida Save Our Homes property tax cap, and also to invalidate 2008's Florida Amendment One—if it passes—on the grounds that the newer amendment worsens the inequities built into the original property tax cap. 
Walter Hellerstein, a professor from the University of Georgia, argued that the portability provision of the proposed amendment discriminates against those who do not currently own homes in Florida—whether because they have yet to own a home or because they currently live outside the state. The tax advantages only belonged to those who sell a house in Florida.
Hellerstein believed that the fact that Amendment One provides benefits to current Florida homeowners, and no one else, could be interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court to be an unconstitutional interference with interstate commerce and the right of people to travel between states.
Florida Governor Charlie Crist disagreed with the claims in the class action lawsuit and also with Hellerstein's legal analysis. Crist remarked, "We're changing the constitution. How can it be more constitutional?"
Path to the ballot
The supporters of Florida Amendment One originally sought to place it on the Florida ballot through the initiative and referendum process. They had collected about 15,000 signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot, when the Florida state legislature made their efforts irrelevant by voting to place the proposed amendment on the ballot through the legislative referral process.
- List of Florida ballot measures
- Florida 2008 ballot measures
- 2008 ballot measures
- Petition drive deadlines in 2008
- Florida signature requirements
- Florida Initiative and Referendum Law
- Campaign finance requirements for Florida ballot measures
- Florida ballot initiative news
- Sample Ballot from Monroe County, FL
- Vote Smart Sample Ballot, Jan. 29, 2008
- Summary and status of this initiative
- "Yes On One" Website of supporters
- Contributions to "Yes On One"
- Portability of Save Our Homes
- Florida election results
- "Nonpartisan Ballot, January 29, 2008", Monroe County, FL, Supervisor of Elections
- FAQ about property taxes
- Florida Today: "Will Save Our Homes exemption portability proposal work?," Jan. 13, 2008
- Voters Confused By Property Tax Proposal, News4Jax, Jan. 2, 2008
- Portability of Save our Homes Cap Ballot Language
- Amendment will bring needed relief to taxpayers Guest Opinion: Burt Saunders, Florida Rep of Lee and Collier counties
- Rubio gets behind tax reform drive, Tallahassee.com, Dec. 3, 2007
- Super-sized savings? Property tax cut may not mean big bucks for everyone, Sun Sentinel, June 17, 2007
- Tax amendment proposal would only exacerbate inequities South Florida Sun Sentinel, January 3, 2008
- Florida TaxWatch: Amendment One will do more harm than good Jacksonville Business Journal, January 11, 2008
- South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "Confused about property tax amendment? You're not alone," Jan. 23, 2008
- Vote Yes on Amendment 1
- Florida voters should say No to Amendment One, demand better tax relief Miami Herald, January 20, 2008
- Amendment One May Be Lesson For Supporters, NBC news, Jan. 26, 2008
- Miami Herald: "Florida newcomers' lawsuit targets Save Our Homes," Jan. 27, 2008
- United Press International: "Lawsuit: Fla. tax cap discriminatory," Jan. 27, 2008
- Orlando Sentinel: "Save Our Homes portability in Florida poses risks," Jan. 13, 2008
- Miami Herald, Jan. 27, 2008
- "PORTABILITY OF SAVE OUR HOMES ASSESSMENT CAP 06-03," Florida Department of State, Division of Elections.