Wednesday, October 10, 2012

If Amendment 4 on November ballot passes, it could result in higher property taxes for you

Amendment 4 on the November ballot broadens the homestead exemption to include second homes and investment properties, and is likely to move a greater share of the property tax burden into the laps of Florida's existing homeowners.  

The Florida Association of Counties estimates that if passed, Amendment 4 will have a $1.7 billion impact on local communities in Florida.  (Everyone loves the theory of property tax reductions until the reality sets in that a reduction in taxes for others could mean an increase for them.)

The association has provided estimates of the property tax impact on counties in Florida if Amendment 4 passes. 

For example, Pasco County could have an impact of:

$1.3 million in 2013
$2.4 million in 2014
$3.4 million in 2015
$5.3 million in 2016

and Hillsborough County:

$5.4   million in 2013
$10.4 million in 2014
$15.0 million in 2015
$22.9 million in 2016

The Orlando Sentinel writes that current homesteaded homeowners will likely have to pick up the tab for those property tax reductions for first time homeowners and non-homesteaded properties:

"The burden of Florida's property taxes would likely shift away from first-time homebuyers, developers, snowbirds and landlords and weigh down the state's existing homeowners under a ballot measure approved last year by state lawmakers and pushed this year by Florida's real-estate industry.

But any property-tax reductions for new homeowners or nonhomeowners would likely involve existing homeowners having to take up at least some of the slack.

"It obviously has a lot of implications for homeowners — who are going to end up paying for it in some form — and also for people who will benefit from it," said Christopher McCarty, director of the University of Florida's Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

One thing that could partly offset the tax burden shifting to existing homeowners would be the addition of new buildings and houses to the tax rolls, Orange County Property Appraiser Bill Donegan said. But even with extra taxes from such construction, Amendment 4 would likely leave longtime homeowners paying part of the tax break for first-time buyers, he added.
"The homeowners are going to pick up the tab," Donegan said recently. "Look out."

"What ad campaigns don't always tout is that Amendment 4 would also carve out larger tax breaks for owners of commercial property."

The Tampa Bay Tribune recommends a no vote on Amendment 4: Link

The Florida Association of Counties has released the following:

Amendment 4: Special Breaks for Special Interests
TALLAHASSEE POLITICIANS ARE AT IT AGAIN | Some state lawmakers call Amendment 4 “tax reform” but that just means well-connected special interests benefit and Florida’s homeowners pay for it.  Amendment 4 would mean big tax breaks for wealthy out-of-state snowbirds paid for by higher taxes for year-round Florida residents. 

BACKDOOR BAILOUT FOR SPECIAL INTERESTS | Amendment 4 is the latest complex and confusing brand of Tallahassee “tax reform,” which offers little relief for Florida’s full-time homeowners but promises special tax breaks for out-of-state investors, real estate “flippers” and second homeowners. 

SHIFTING THE TAX BURDEN TO FLORIDA’S HOMEOWNERS | If adopted, Amendment 4 will mean that property taxes for Florida residents who have lived in their homes for several years are likely to go up to subsidize tax breaks for non-residents and businesses.

A ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL APPROACH | We can’t trust Tallahassee to control budgets decisions for our local community.  Those decisions should be made by local leaders who are closer and more accountable to the people they serve.  After all, what works for West Palm Beach may not work for Pensacola, and vice-versa. 

TAX GRIEF, NOT RELIEF | Amendment 4 does very little to lower the property taxes of existing Florida homeowners, but it does a lot to help powerful special interest developers who build, sell and own property.

NOT FAIR TO YEAR-ROUND HOMEOWNERS | Amendment 4 gives tax breaks to out-of-state snowbirds who drive on Florida’s roads and use public services.  However, the amendment is likely to drive up taxes on Florida’s year-round homeowners.  In these tough economic times, with many working families struggling to make ends meet, that’s just not right.

POLICE AND FIREFIGHTING AT RISK | Amendment 4’s special tax breaks for special interests will be paid for by Florida’s full-time residents.  Altogether, it will cost local governments nearly $2 billion over four years, prompting many local communities to cut back on vital services like police and firefighting. 

THE BOTTOM LINE | Amendment 4 will mean that property taxes for Florida residents are likely to rise to subsidize tax breaks for non-residents and businesses.


Glen Parker said...

It's worth noting that this argument applies to all the amendments being proposed, including the Surviving Spouses of Heroes amendment and the Veterans amendment. All of these will shift tax burden to existing homeowners to pick up the slack.

Vote NO on all amendments this session. They are all a bad deal for homeowners and a bad deal for Florida.

Russ Perlowski said...


That is my understanding too.