'Super exemption' won't help longtime homeowners
June 21, 2007
The recent property tax package approved by the Florida Legislature is a sham. What happened to the portability issue? What did they do to make the taxes more equitable for second homeowners? Addressing both of these fairly would bring our real estate market out of the doldrums. This helps everyone.
The first phase of what they did approve will freeze city and county tax collections at current levels. When property values started escalating at an unrealistic pace in 2002, these governments found themselves with more money than they had ever seen. Their spending habits became commensurate with this windfall. Now, when told to freeze this spending frenzy, we are being threatened with cuts in everything from police and firefighters to more euthanasia at the animal shelters. These tactics are deplorable.
More egregious is phase two that will need a 60 percent approval of Florida residents in a vote on Jan. 29. This "super exemption" looks to me like a trick to get homesteaders to give up their Save Our Homes annual 3 percent cap on taxable value. If you have owned your home for a few years and currently receive the $25,000 exemption, most of you will be paying more taxes the very first year.
Be careful! The amount on which your taxes will be based if you opt for the super exemption will be your "market value," not your present "taxable value." We have owned our home since 1991. With the soaring market values since 2002, we would be paying more than double our current property tax bill and have no protection from the county rapidly escalating our market value.
I encourage everyone to go to the WPBF Web site. In its "Politics" section, you can enter your present taxable value and your market value and see for yourself how you would fare. The few who would see lower tax bills the first year, will have to give up the 3 percent cap on value "safety net." How long before the county decides that your home is "much" more valuable and your tax bill soars?