Part 1 Q&A: Pros & Cons of Florida's additional homestead exemption:
Today's entry: Good morning Brian, what are your thoughts on which way to vote for the $25,000 increase on homestead exemption? Our county tax collector burned us last election, along with Lake Worth's $40 million golden street bond. Thanks again for everything you do for "We the People".
Bottom Line: There are actually a couple of different paths I'd like to take with your question. The first is with regard to the homestead exemption and the second with regard to the latest update on the Lake Worth bond issue.
The simplest answer your homestead exemption question is that any property tax relief that's provided equitably is something I support. There is no tax I loathe more than the property tax. I'd argue, and have, that's it's an amoral tax. When you actually look at where the money goes it's even harder to justify. You live in Lake Worth, as do I, so I pulled my Ad Valorem Taxes for the most recent tax year (that are likely the same as yours). They include:
Ad Valorem Taxes -
That's twelve different taxing authorities demanding money from the roof over your head, as well as my 93 year old windowed neighbor living on a very tight fixed income...12! Only four of the twelve are even used by many of us (County, Fire/Rescue, City, Water District). It's abhorrent that you could be taxed out of your home due to taxes imposed, 3/4er's of which you may never use! What's more is that those don't even include the non-Ad Valorem tax assesments (I have four of those right now for a total of 16 different entities taking money for the roof over my/your head). Everyone should inform themselves about what they're really paying for by looking at the details of their property tax statements. Here's a link to the Property Appraiser's website: http://pbcgov.com/papa/
The only time I don't support a property tax exception is if a "special" class is carved out. I don't believe that we should have "winners" and "losers" with property tax assessments as we do with the federal tax code. That's a slippery slope that unjustly places extra pressure on those who aren't advantaged. When we're talking about the roof over our head - that should never be a political tool/weapon.
In part 2 I'll address the latest on the Lake Worth bond issue.