Writing my previous article on this subject got me to really think hard about the consequences of this amendment. I tried to be as unbiased as I could when I wrote it. Well this article here is not going to be unbiased. I voted yes for this amendment and now I am going to elaborate on why.
I will say that I really don't like the language of the whole thing. Instead of tinkering with the exemptions and the rates, I believe the legislature really needs to overhaul the property tax code as well as most of the other state and local taxes.
Unfortunately, I do not have much faith in big government, government unions, and the whole bureaucracy. Being the staunch conservative that I am, my general feeling is that those entities are screwing up this state and this country instead of making it a better place to live, play, and work. The Florida legislature was suppose to come up with a property tax solution back in the regular Spring session of 2007. Instead of the grand ideas that were proposed, the Florida House and Senate simply butted heads and eventually tabled the whole property tax issue into a special session in June. Then in June they did a quick band-aid tax cut and proposed a Super Homestead Exemption which got thrown out by the Florida courts in October. So the legislature met again in November and came up with the current proposal.
If after 1 regular session and 2 special sessions this is all they could come up with, I am very skeptical that the legislature will go back and try to fix the tax problem yet again in another special session. The real estate market is drowning out there. People cannot afford their houses and high taxes are a major factor. If amendment #1 does not pass, odds are strong that we won't see anything new put into place by the legislature for another year or 2 at best.
At least Amendment #1 does provide some tax relief. Even if it gets challenged in court at a later date. In fact if it does get challenged, I believe the people of Florida will just get that much more ticked off about high taxes.
Yes, if it passes the local governments will have to cut back in spending. However, they have had astronomical tax increases in the last few years. Most non-homestead properties have seen their taxes double if not triple within the last 10 years while at the same time growth and inflation have been significantly lower. I feel no pity for local cities, counties, police, fire, and schools who refuse to live within their means. Every private individual and business I know are forced to live within their means - especially during tough times - so why shouldn't the government do the same. When I was a child the sales tax was 4% in Florida, now it is 7% in Seminole County - nearly double and yet they never have enough. The funny thing is that the school taxes are almost entirely exempt from this amendment and yet the schools still cry foul. Amazing!
Hopefully the legislature will do more to fix the tax problem in the upcoming session. And you watch what happens in October when the TRIM notices (property appraiser valuations) come out. My bet is that property appraisers will have long lines of people protesting their high assessments this fall. On top of that assessed values are dropping like an anchor all over the place, so the cities and counties are going to be facing budget cuts regardless.
That is my take on things. I have already mailed in my absentee ballot, so it is too late to change my mind now.
(Copyright © 2008. Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc. All rights reserved.)
Rob Arnold, ABR, CPL, CRB, GRI, Managing real estate broker, Licensed mortgage broker, Notary Public
Your full service and investor friendly Realtor in Orlando. Learn to invest in Central Florida real estate and Orlando real estate. Investor mentoring and counseling available. I also provide flat fee MLS listings, For Sale By Owner, and menu-based services in Florida.
We buy houses cash in Central Florida including Orlando, Winter Park, Maitland, Ocoee, Apopka, Altamonte Springs, Casselberry, Longwood, Winter Springs, Lake Mary, Sanford, Deltona, and Debary. www.WeBuyHousesFlorida.com/