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Cities and Counties Brace for Property-Tax Amendment


Florida's cities and counties are bracing for the loss of an estimated $1 billion in property taxes if voters approve a state constitutional amendment but taxpayers would be the big winners, according to a recent report in the Orlando Sentinel.

Amendment 4 — one of 11 constitutional amendments on the Florida ballot would reduce the maximum annual increases allowed in the assessed value of businesses, second homes and vacation homes from 10 percent to 5 percent. In addition it allows an extra property-tax exemption for new-home buyers on top of a standard homestead exemption and stops an assessment from increasing if the market value has decreased.

Cities and counties in Florida would receive $186 million less in property taxes in the first year, with the amount of lost revenue growing each year. By 2015, local governments would lose nearly $1 billion in property taxes, according to Florida Association of Counties projections.

While officials worry about loss of revenues, the amendment promises substantial savings to homeowners. A first-time buyer of a $350,000 house in Orange County would save $9,203 before the new exemption phases in five years. The lower cap on non-homestead property businesses and vacation homes promises even bigger savings for property owners.

In addition to saving taxpayers money, a Florida TaxWatch study says the amendment would create as many as 20,000 new jobs and and add 383,810 new home sales statewide in the next ten years. Florida Realtors are excited about the possibilities and have launched an aggressive ad campaign to encourage voters to support the amendment.


As many as 60 percent of all homeowners are being “overassessed” nationwide and are paying more property taxes than they should be, according to the nonprofit National Taxpayers Union

Posted 10-29-12

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Source: Property-tax amendment would hit local governments' budgets - Orlando Sentinel