Flood resilience and taxes on the ballot
Our next election on November 8 includes three proposed amendments to the state constitution, including those that touch on flood mitigation and property taxes. All three were placed on the ballot by the Florida Legislature. As we have in past newsletters, let’s take a look at what’s on the ballot.
Amendment 1 is titled “Limitation on Assessment of Real Property Used for Residential Purposes.” It would allow any flood resistant improvement to a residential property to be exempt from the home’s assessed value in local ad valorem property taxes.
The amendment is meant to incentivize homeowners to elevate all or parts of their home, so long as it meets National Flood Insurance Program and Florida Building Code standards. A legislative analysis said the amendment would reduce local property tax revenues by $5.8 million in the next 2023-2024 fiscal year, an amount that would eventually grow to $25 million annually.
Amendment 2 is titled “Abolishing the Constitution Revision Commission.” It would abolish the 37-member commission that meets every 20 years to consider issues to place on the ballot. This amendment would not impact the ability to revise or amend the state constitution through citizen initiative, the Florida Legislature, the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission (which also meets every 20 years), or constitutional convention.
The commission last met in 2017-2018 and was criticized for bundling seemingly unrelated topics together into single proposed amendments. The 2021 legislature debated whether to prohibit bundling but voted in the end to propose eliminating the commission altogether.
Amendment 3 is titled “Additional Homestead Property Tax Exemption for Specified Critical Public Services Workforce.” It would grant an additional $50,000 homestead tax exemption on the non-school portion of local property taxes for property owned by classroom teachers, law enforcement officers, correctional officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, child welfare services professionals, active duty members of the United States Armed Forces, and Florida National Guard members. This amendment would be effective January 1, 2023.
The amendment is meant to help provide relief from rising housing costs and is projected to save the above groups almost $81 million in the next fiscal year, eventually growing to $93.6 million in 2028. If passed, it would become the third homestead exemption in the constitution. Currently, all homesteaded property owners receive an exemption on the first $25,000 of appraised value and another $25,000 exemption on the value between $50,000 and $75,000. This proposed amendment would create an additional $50,000 for the above groups to apply to the property value between $100,000 and $150,000.
All proposed amendments to Florida’s constitution require a 60% majority vote to be approved. As many of our readers are Floridians, it’s important to know how each of these measures can affect us and our families, businesses, and employees. Knowledge is power! Election Day is Tuesday, November 8. Please be sure to exercise your civic duty to vote!
LMA Newsletter of 10-24-22