Vote Yes for Amendment 4 on the Florida Ballot

Vote Yes on Amendment 4

Have you seen the ballot for the November election? Other than the obvious, our Florida ballot is a lengthy one with 12 proposed Amendments to the Florida Constitution.  It takes a considerable time commitment to read, analyze and understand the amendments.

I would suggest that for those interested there is a website www. Ballotpedia.org that will help with that process. The 4th Amendment that is on the ballot is described as “Amends commercial and non-homestead property taxes.”

This description is not a good description and at first glance voters may see this and say NO. It appears that this is an amendment written solely for the benefit of commercial and non-homestead property owners.

This amendment has 3 provisions.

The first is to add an exemption to first-time homebuyer’s property taxes.  Each homeowner in the state of Florida receives a Homestead exemption of $50,000 for their primary home.

A first-time homebuyer is someone who has not owned homesteaded property in the state of Florida for three years.

The added exemption equals up to half of the median home sales price which was $169,945 in August.  This exemption does not apply to school taxes collected.  This is phased out over 5 years with a 20% decrease yearly.

The second provision will change the cap on valuation increases for non-homestead properties from 10% to 5%.  This cap would extend to 2022. It is also not to apply to school levies.

This would phase out The Save Our homes Amend approved 20 years ago that has created a tax inequity that shifted a disproportionate amount of the tax burden on to the shoulders of landlords and other groups of property owners.

The third provision will stop “recapture”, the process by which your property taxes rise even when the value of your home declines.  Unless the assessed value of your property rises your taxes do not rise.

Florida Tax Watch, an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organization that has been conducting analysis of the likely impacts of proposed Constitutional Amendments for 30 years or more has determined the benefits of this amendment if passed.  Using the best data and an advanced econometric analysis Florida Taxwatch has estimated the passage of Amend. 4 would result in the creation of nearly 20,000 jobs over the 10 year period, that Fla. GDP would increase by approx. $1.1 billion, and personal income would increase by more than $5.3 billion.  This increased income will stimulate small business growth by increased consumption of services and products.

How will this happen?

Increased economic activity throughout the economy.  This proposal would reduce the uncertainty for both personal and business investment.  When a business owner knows what their expenses are going to be they are more likely to invest.  Businesses in Sarasota, Florida will thrive with the added economic activity.

When investors know what their tax obligations will be they are more likely to invest.

It is estimated that from 320,000 to 383,000 homes will be sold due to the effects of amend. 4.  This is a result of the incentive to buy with the added tax exemption, the additional income for Floridians, and the population growth predicted.  And again, the increased home sales will stimulate local economies in Sarasota, Fl. when consumers buy houses.

More qualified buyers purchasing homes means increased values for everyone. And that is at the core of economic recovery.

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