The Florida Amendment Series: Amendment 2

The Florida Amendment Series: Amendment 2 

Bottom Line: This is the second in a twelve-part series covering Florida’s proposed constitutional amendments. Amendments can be confusing enough to understand but furthering the confusion, while there were originally thirteen amendments scheduled for November’s ballot, a court ruling knocked the 8th off of the ballot. For that reason, you’ll see amendments 1 through 7 and 9 through 13. Each proposed amendment requires a minimum of 60% support to pass. Here’s how it will appear on the ballot: 

BALLOT TITLE: Limitations on Property Tax Assessments  

BALLOT SUMMARY: Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to permanently retain provisions currently in effect, which limit property tax assessment increases on specified nonhomestead real property, except for school district taxes, to 10 percent each year. If approved, the amendment removes the scheduled repeal of such provisions in 2019 and shall take effect January 1, 2019.  

Of all of the proposed Amendments this is one of the most straight forward. On non-homesteaded properties there are currently no limitations on property taxes increases one year to the next. While we’ve had multiple homestead protections put in place for primary homesteaded properties, under the premise of “Saving Our Homes”, nothing has been done for rentals and businesses.  

Entering 2018, 35.9% of households were rentals in Florida. That means that more than a third of Floridians are negatively impacted by the lack of limitations on the rate of increase in property taxes. While high rent rates are often discussed as a problem in South Florida from an affordability standpoint, seldom is the impact of property taxes discussed. It’s a huge part of the picture as the increases are passed along to renters from landlords. For businesses, especially local, the rising property tax rates have often been prohibitive. I’ve spoken with multiple small business owners who’ve closed over the years specific to increases in rent/property tax rates and the threat of future increases for planning purposes.  

Final Thoughts: For the reasons cited I’m supportive of a cap of 10% annually for non-homestead property taxes. Frankly, I feel it should be a lot lower. When was the last time the economy grew at 10%? When was the last time the average person or local business earned 10% more annually? Why then should taxes be allowed to rise to that level? Yes on 2 and more can be done. 

 

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