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Florida Rejects Property Tax Amendments

by William C. Coleman III, Orlando, November 2012

 

In order to amend Florida's constitution, 60% voter approval is required. Two property tax amendments failed to get the necessary votes on November 6th.

 

Amendment 4

 

Amendment 4 contained three different property tax breaks for homeowners and businesses:

 

1. A 50% homestead exemption for first-time buyers

 

2. A 5% assessment cap for business property, second homes and apartment buildings

 

3. An end to the recapture provision that required longtime homeowners to pay higher taxes while their home value declined.

 

The Florida Association of Realtors spent more than $4 million on ads to win approval for Amendment 4, claiming it would help the state's devastated housing market. However, opponents successfully argued that the measure deceptively shifts tax burdens to longtime property owners. Virtually identical commercial properties face drastic differences in taxes while competing for the same tenant base. Also, the cap is lifted when properties sell and the value increases to market value based on the sales price.

 

Amendment 10

 

Amendment 10 sought to double the current tax exemption on tangible personal property taxes from $25,000 to $50,000.

 

Even though supporters said Amendment 10 would give tax relief to small businesses, opponents persuaded voters to reject the measure because it would take $20.1 million in property tax revenues away from local governments.