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Property Tax Update

A special session is on the way in June to discuss property tax reform. New ideas continue to emerge after the failure during the regular session to reach agreement. Here is what the reps are saying now.

During the past few weeks, Rep. David Simmons, a Republican from Maitland, suggested an idea that met the House’s policy goals, and offered an opportunity for opponents of the House plan to reconsider their objections. The House is now considering a variation of his idea of dramatically increased homestead exemptions based on a percentage of the value of the home. We think this approach is fair and simple, and eliminates many of the inequities that have developed under our current property-tax structure.

Here is an example of how this approach might work:

On the home’s first $300,000 in just value, 80 percent would be exempt from property taxes.

On the next $700,000 in just value, 70 percent would be exempt.

On just value above $1,000,000, 30 percent would be exempt.

Under the numbers used in the example above, the new homestead exemption for a $300,000 home would be $240,000. Using the example above, 90 percent of all homestead property owners would benefit more from this proposal than under the current Save Our Homes structure. The average beneficiary of this approach would see his or her tax bill cut in half.

Non-homestead-property owners would also benefit from this approach. Both non-homestead residential properties and commercial/industrial properties would also be exempt on a percentage of their just value and would see property-tax savings.

This approach works well because it delivers targeted cuts to those who need it most. Floridians who have been hurt the most by outrageous property-tax increases will see the greatest relief.

Further, by fixing the size of the homestead exemption to the value of property, we will eliminate the problem of many Floridians who are trapped in their current homes by the threat of skyrocketing tax bills if they move to a new home. This would be a great step for our seniors, growing families and first-time home buyers.

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