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REPEALING FLORIDA’S ‘NON-HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION CAP’ COULD RESULT IN ANNUAL $700 MILLION TAX INCREASE

A new report from the state’s independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit government watchdog and taxpayer research institute, Florida TaxWatch, shows that failure to make permanent the non-homestead exemption cap could result in Floridians paying as much as $700 million more in property taxes annually. However, Florida voters will have the chance to protect themselves from higher property taxes by voting “yes” on Amendment 2 this November.

Since voters passed the non-homestead 10 percent tax cap in 2008, this safeguard has helped to stem the multi billion dollar tax shift from homestead to non-homestead properties. This cap is scheduled to expire on January 1, 2019, but Florida voters can stop that from happening.

“Allowing the cap to expire will result in a property tax hike that will unfairly and severely impact renters and seniors on fixed incomes, businesses, owners of undeveloped land, and part-time residents,” said Dominic M. Calabro, President, and CEO of Florida TaxWatch.

“Property taxes are Florida’s largest state and local tax source, and the disparity between homestead and non-homestead property taxes is already significant. While Florida has done a great job protecting homesteaded residents from tax increases, similar protections should be left in place for non-homestead properties. Floridians should vote for Amendment 2 this November.”

“We are grateful to have the respected expertise of Florida TaxWatch on this important issue. Making the 10 percent non-homestead tax cap permanent in Florida impacts everybody in the state. It allows business owners to plan for the future by having a better grasp on their budgets, so they can expand and create more jobs. It helps renters continue to afford their housing as they save to one day purchase a home,” said Carrie O’Rourke, Vice President of Public Policy for the Florida Association of REALTORS®.

“Prior to the non-homestead tax cap, nearly three out of four non-homestead properties in Florida had taxes increases of more than 10 percent year to year. In 2006, 30 percent of non-homestead properties were hit with an 80 percent hike from just the year before. Florida cannot continue to move forward with these kinds of tax hikes.”

“Hispanic businesses throughout the state of Florida are crucial to the economic success of our state,” said Julio Fuentes, president of the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “Passing Amendment 2 will help protect small businesses from large tax increases and allow for them to keep prices low, which in turn helps local communities.”

Floridians will be able to vote to make the non-homestead tax cap permanent on the 2018 General Election ballot in November. The non-homestead exemption cap protects all non-homestead property from an even more disproportionate property tax system and future spikes in assessments and stands as the only significant exemption afforded these types of real property under Florida’s current system. It is vital to Florida’s economy and taxpayers that Amendment 2 is passed in November.

About Florida TaxWatch

As an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit government watchdog & taxpayer research institute for nearly forty years, Florida TaxWatch works to improve the productivity and accountability of Florida government. Its research recommends productivity enhancements and explains the statewide impact of fiscal and economic policies and practices on citizens and businesses.

Florida TaxWatch is supported by voluntary, tax-deductible donations and private grants, and does not accept government funding. Donations provide a solid, lasting foundation that has enabled Florida TaxWatch to bring about a more effective, responsive government that is more accountable to, and productive for, the citizens it serves since 1979. For more information, visit http://www.floridataxwatch.org.

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