This autumn, be prepared to get out and vote or taxes could be on the rise. Florida’s upcoming General Election will be on November 6, 2018 and will feature multiple amendments to be decided. Three of these specifically deal with taxes on real estate property and statewide exemptions. With a bevy of writing to help voters understand each of these amendments, it is likely to slow down the actual process of casting votes on Election Day. If it is possible, it is recommended to mail in your votes to save yourself from the longer than usual lines that are likely to form that day. Here’s a brief explanation on the three tax amendments on the November ballot:
- Amendment 1: This proposed amendment offers an increase to the homestead property exemption across the state. Currently the homestead tax exemption reduces the taxable value of a couple’s primary residence by $50,000, thus offsetting their yearly property taxes. The new proposal would increase the reduction by an additional $25,000 per year. While it sounds attractive to vote for a “tax decrease” it does not disclose where that tax money will have to come from after it is reduced, thus putting further strain on the state’s financial situation.
- Amendment 2: The next ballot measure would make a previously voted for change permanent. Back in 2008 voter overwhelmingly approved a limit on tax increases for non-homestead properties (think businesses, apartments, or second homes in FL) to 10% per year. Unfortunately the provision expires in 2019. This year the public has a chance to make that limit more permanent, and remove the scheduled repeal of such provisions in 2019. If the amendment fails, local businesses, apartment renters, and vacationers will end up paying much more on their tax bill, which will make Florida less affordable and attractive.
- Amendment 5: This one will require a two-thirds vote of both houses of our Florida Legislature to raise taxes or fees in the future. While it’s good to have checks and balances in our judicial system, this one could actually work against its good intentions. In sum, this amendment, if passed, would allow one third of the House or Senate to vote against anything they see unfit and derail the changes from coming to fruition, with only a minority vote.
For a full list of the coming amendments and elections you can check the Vote Pinellas website here. Please remember that this year’s elections are looking to propose some fairly big changes, so let’s all get in our vote, and grow this city together.
Image courtesy of CityofStPete via flickr.