John's Florida Real Estate Blog


Special Session of the Florida Legislature Begins Today to Tackle Property Tax Reform

Who knows what Tallahassee is going to come up with. A $31.6 billion tax cut is being mentioned. There are so many proposals being tossed about I am not sure anyone understands it all, even the authors of the bills. I am very sure that they do not know all of the repercussions down the road. The true fact is you have to pay for what you want. If it currently costs us X dollars to keep the state running and we suddenly decide to reduce tax income by Y dollars, we either will have reduced services or we will have to find another way to make Y dollars to replace those that were lost. That is how it works in my home and that is how it works in the state.

One of the two biggest components are a new type of "super homestead exemption" that would run from $50,000 to nearly $200,000. (I would love this since my tax bill would disappear. However, I do not think it fair that I am a citizen using the roads, parks, etc. and do not pay a cent). The second part of the plan is to force local governments to rollback tax bases with a cap on how much future taxes can go up.

To change the current homestead law, there would need to be a vote by the public on this modification to the state's constitution. And it would take 3/4 of the legislature to vote for it to be placed on the ballot before the voters would even have the chance to weigh in.

Now, getting back to cuts. Where will that $31.6 billion come from. First Republicans are planning on taking $7.1 billion of it from school budgets over the next 7 years. This even as our state is bursting at the seams with new schools going up every day?? They said they could make up these cuts next year when the new budget is done. But where are they going to pull that money from then? All they are saying is "trust us".

Then we get to the sticky situation were some property owners are actually better off under the current taxing statutes and will pay a lot more if the new proposals are passed. Their savings from "save our homes" is greater than any new homestead exemption will be. Will they vote for the constitutional amendment that will create the "super homestead exemption"

Guys, this looks like a real mish-mash to me. My bet is that when it is all done, and we are a couple of years down the road, another special session will need to be called to clean all of this up. Anyone want to bet?

I will let you know what the final outcome of the special session is.

John Elwell - REALTOR


Bill Nye Realty, Inc.


Licensed in Florida


Comment balloon 1 commentJohn Elwell • June 12 2007 01:09PM


Your math is correct but your facts are defective.  The local revenues have increased over the last five years by 80% to over a 100% in some areas whereas the cost of living is maybe a 4% per year increase. So why the extra revenue? Well simply because appraised values have risin. And now they seem to be going down. So why so much revenue is needed seem to be a local govt secret. Show me the tab in 2002 and the tab for 2007 and I bet you'l see the waist. We need extreme help from the state to set us back to reasonable property tax level since the state won't fess up to their highly inflated spending over the last 5 years. 
Posted by Steve almost 13 years ago

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