Thursday, September 27, 2012

Constitution Amendment / local Palmetto Bay Charter Change ballot issue reviews. Second of series. State proposed Constitution Amendment #4.

This proposal seeks to provide Save Our Home (SOH) style protection for non-homestead property.  It also prohibits local governments from ‘recapturing’ the gap between the taxable (SOH protected value) and assessed values from homeowners in years where the values decline, but the value remains above the SOH protected rate. 
The Florida Property Tax, called Amendment 4, is on the November 6, 2012, state ballot in Florida as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. Generally speaking, the voters approve amendments that reduce taxes.
This constitutional amendment may have a profound impact on future property tax revenues of both municipalities as well as unincorporated Miami-Dade. 
What Amend 4 proposes to do: The proposed amendment would prohibit increases in the assessed value of homestead property if the fair market value of the property decreases; reduces the limitation on annual assessment increases to non-homestead property; and provides an additional homestead exemption.
Specifically, non-homestead or commercial property would have their assessment increases capped at 3 percent per year. This is the same relief current offered to present residential property owners under the Save our Homes amendment (SOH). The property tax rate would also be lowered to 10 percent for rental and 5 percent for commercial properties.
Non-residential (homestead) properties would no longer see disproportionally higher assessments in years where values increase. 
This amendment will prevent a local property taxable value from increasing more than 5 percent in any year – homestead properties would remain at 3%, commercial property at 5% and 10% for rental property.
Additionally, the measure would implement an additional homestead exemption for first-time buyers equal to 50 percent of the median home price in the county. The additional exemption, however, would be gradually reduced until it expires within 5 years.
The proposed measure requires 60 percent voter approval for adoption.

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