The 2020 Florida Amendment Series: Amendment 6

The 2020 Florida Amendment Series: Amendment 6

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Bottom Line: This is the sixth in a six-part series covering Florida’s six proposed constitutional amendments for the 2020 Election cycle. Each proposed amendment requires a minimum of 60% support to pass. Here’s how it will appear on the ballot:

No. 6 Constitutional Amendment

BALLOT TITLE: Ad Valorem Tax Discount for Spouses of Certain Deceased Veterans Who Had Permanent, Combat-Related Disabilities

BALLOT SUMMARY: Provides that the homestead property tax discount for certain veterans with permanent combat-related disabilities carries over to such veteran's surviving spouse who holds legal or beneficial title to, and who permanently resides on, the homestead property, until he or she remarries or sells or otherwise disposes of the property. The discount may be transferred to a new homestead property of the surviving spouse under certain conditions. The amendment takes effect January 1, 2021.

Amendment 6 is the second proposed amendment which would impact the application of Homestead Exemption laws in Florida. Like its predecessor on the ballot, Amendment 5, it received unanimous approval in both chambers of Florida’s Legislature after being introduced by Representative Sam Killebrew. As the summary states, this proposal would ensure a loophole in which a surviving spouse of an injured combat veteran wouldn’t lose the added homestead benefit afforded to injured veterans. Additionally, it would provide a portability path for surviving spouses.

Final Thoughts: In 2006 Floridians passed Amendment 7 which extended additional homestead benefits to disabled veterans. The Amendment failed to address surviving spouses. Under current law benefits expire upon the death of the veteran leading to an immediate tax property tax increase for surviving spouses. At worst the idea of a surviving spouse of a disabled veteran being taxed out of their home is awful and should be addressed. Additionally, it’s understandable that some surviving spouses would opt to sell their home to downsize or begin a new chapter in their lives. Extending the benefit to these veteran spouses is reasonable and compassionate policy. While I feel all Floridians should never be put in a position to lose their homes due to property tax burdens, at a minimum we should limit the burden for the loved ones of those who’ve sacrificed so much for our freedoms. I recommend a Yes vote on Amendment 6.