Archive for October, 2007

Florida Property Tax Reform Update

Saturday, October 20th, 2007

For over a year many people have been advocating for Florida property tax reform that is comprehensive and not just a simple tax cut. These messages have been clearly delivered to the legislature that reform needs to address all property types – not just Homestead property owners.

Yesterday afternoon the Florida House of Representatives released a revised property tax relief proposal that will be considered on Monday. This plan includes provisions advocated by both Republicans and Democrats in the House.

In addition to Portability which is being embraced by the Governor, Senate and House, this new House proposal includes a five percent assessment cap on Commercial and non-homestead property. This is intended to provide the predictability and stability that non-homestead property owners have been advocating for.

The House is also advocating a new homestead exemption that, instead of doubling the current $25,000 exemption, would guarantee a minimum Save Our Homes exemption of 40% of the county median home value. House leaders believe this will provide relief to not only new buyers but those who have purchased in recent years.

Again, we expect the House to begin consideration of this proposal on Monday. Both the House and Senate plans that are being considered maintain the current Save Our Homes structure and provide for portability of Save Our Homes.
Attached is a side-by-side that gives more detail on the current Senate and House proposals.
Here is a complete list of the issues being proposed in the House plan today:

  • Instead of doubling the homestead exemption, this exemption is tied to the county’s median home value and will target relief to all homestead property owners (not just first time buyers). Again, the exemption would be 40% of area median.
  • Save Our Homes-like cap on non-homestead and commercial property to help restore fairness, equity and predictability to our property tax system by capping any increase at 5%. This will help businesses who have faced outrageous tax increases and owners of second homes (Snowbirds).
  • Portability – homeowners may transfer their Save Our Homes benefits to a new homestead anywhere in Florida within 2 years of leaving their former homestead.
  • Creates a new Tangible Personal Property Exemption of $25,000
  • Limits the authority of local governments to increase property taxes
  • Provides for limitations on assessed values of properties used for affordable housing
  • Provides an assessment growth limitation for all non-homestead properties in Florida by 5%
  • Creates more flexibility for the Legislature to limit assessments for working waterfront properties
  • Election of all county property appraisers
  • Hopefully the outcome on Monday is positive. This so far looks like the most reasonable solution being that it also includes landlords, snowbirds, and commercial property owners. Finally!