SAVE OUR HOMES UPDATE!
As you can see, from the article printed below, there are still critics
who continue to oppose SOH portability. Strangely enough the
representatives of the Florida Association of Realtors, emphasized
their opposition to SOH, using the usual, unsubstantiated argument
that there is a tax cost shift. As you may recall two sessions ago,
FAR supported a form of portability.
I was encouraged to see that Allan Bense, Chairman of the FAR
Committee, opined that it would be difficult to convince voters to give
up their SOH protection.
Attorney Donna Adams, is moving ahead with organizing the portability
drive and we will keep you updated on that effort.
Rep. Carl J. Domino
Property tax 'portability' gets frosty reception from tax panel
BY BILL KACZOR
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- A proposal to let homeowners take at least part of their existing tax breaks with them when they move received a frosty reception Thursday from part of a commission studying Florida's tax structure.
Several members of the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission's property tax work group said the "portability" proposal would exacerbate inequities caused by the Florida Constitution's Save Our Homes Amendment, which voters adopted in 1992.
"As I look 20 years out into the future and I see this portability that you're talking about, I see a disaster that's going to make Save Our Homes seem like a walk in the park," said Commissioner Nancy Riley, also president of the Florida Association of Realtors.
The amendment caps assessment increases on primary homes, known as homesteads, at 3 percent annually, but that has shifted tax burden to other taxpayers including new home buyers and owners of commercial and rental properties and second homes.
Riley and other critics, including former Florida Senate President John McKay and former Florida Department of Revenue Director Randy Miller, say that disparity has dampened Florida's economy by making it more expensive to buy and own non-homestead property.
The amendment also has caused many homeowners to feel trapped because they would lose their Save Our Homes benefit and face potentially huge tax increases simply by moving to a new home.
Lee County Property Appraiser Ken Wilkinson, who led the citizens initiative that passed Save Our Homes, now is offering the portability proposal. Wilkinson, also a member of the commission, was undismayed by the criticism.
"I'm excited," Wilkinson said. "The hardest part is getting to the table and our issue is at the table. I don't feel discouraged."
He said he's willing to make changes to win the commission's approval. The proposal limits the transferred benefits to $400,000 of a new home's value if it's more expensive or half of its value for a cheaper new home.
There was consensus, though, that the commission won't be able to get rid of Save Our Homes, just try to make it more equitable through recommendations to the Legislature and by proposing constitutional amendments.
The commission can put amendments on the November 2008 ballot, but then they would need 60 percent approval from voters.
"I just don't know how you ever get the votes to unwind Save Our Homes," said Commission Chairman Allan Bense, a former Florida House speaker. He said the commission needs to "figure out some way to work around that big monster."
The Florida Legislature, meanwhile, has offered voters its own amendment designed to phase out Save Our Homes. It will be on the Jan. 29 presidential primary ballot.
The proposal would give existing homeowners the choice of keeping their Save Our Homes benefits or trading them for a "super exemption:" 75 percent off the first $200,000 of a home's value and 15 percent off the next $300,000.
It has no portability provision, so as property trades hands the Save Our Homes benefits eventually will disappear.
Although they differ on portability, Riley and Wilkinson agree on Legislature's amendment. Both support it.
Wilkinson doesn't like the super exemption, though, saying people who take that option eventually will pay higher taxes although they may save in the short run. But he favors other provisions designed to cut taxes on affordable housing, working waterfronts and business personal property such as equipment and machinery.
"I believe when you deal with the government you get what you can when you can (and) you come back for more," Wilkinson said.
He's already prepared a petition drive in case the commission rejects his portability proposal.