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Summary of Amendment 1

This past summer, legislation was set in place to allow for the largest property tax cut in Florida’s history. The packet, labeled “Amendment 1”, has 2 main components:
1) a law was passed requiring local governments to roll-back taxes this year and then to “grow at a responsible rate” in the future.
2) The Second part is summarized below and needs to be voted in by Florida residents on January 29, 2008.

Summary of the Plan:
1) Provides statewide portability up to $500,000 in value for homesteaded Floridians, including school taxes and is retroactive to January 1, 2007.
2) Creates a $25,000 tangible personal property tax exemption to businesses. which despite how it sounds, is a tax on businesses.(The big benefit here is not so much saving a lot of money as much as it is, for many businesses, not having to file the paperwork each year.)
3) Creates an assessment cap of 10 percent for all non-homestead property, but the cap will sunset in 10 years and must be placed on the ballot for reauthorization. This provision does not include school taxes.
4) In addition to the current 25,000 homestead exemption, the portion between $50,000-75,000 would be exempt from property taxes-though the school board portion would still be taxed. The average savings for this component is $240 a year.

Since a 1992 referendum dubbed Save Our Homes, homeowners now enjoy a 3 percent cap on annual local tax increases. But the Senate stripped other House-backed provisions affecting low-income elderly residents, first-time home buyers and waterfront businesses. The omissions prompted many to criticize the plan as an opportunity lost.

Citing polls and a requirement that any proposed constitutional amendment must be approved by 60 percent of voters, leaders said a more comprehensive package of savings would not pass. "Because of the simplicity of this plan, the public has the opportunity to vote for real tax relief ... that will put money in their pockets," said Rep. Dan Webster, a Republican from Winter Garden. The plan increases the homestead exemption from $25,000 to $50,000. The additional exemption would not apply to taxes levied by public schools, which are required under another constitutional amendment to reduce class size.

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  mary bernas, Florida luxury real estate expert
Mary Bernas
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