Analysis of 2022 Proposed Ballot Amendments to the Florida Constitution.
On November 8th, voters will be asked to support or oppose 3 different Amendments to the Florida Constitution. All three amendments were placed on the ballot by the Florida Legislature.
For an amendment to pass the ballot, it must get 60% approval from the voters.
“LIMITATION ON THE ASSESSMENT OF REAL PROPERTY USED FOR RESIDENTIAL PURPOSES.”
“Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution, effective January 1, 2023, to authorize the Legislature, by general law, to prohibit the consideration of any change or improvement made to real property used for residential purposes to improve the property’s resistance to flood damage in determining the assessed value of such property for ad valorem taxation purposes.”
Amendment One would authorize the Florida Legislature to pass laws prohibiting flood resistance improvements to residential property from being considered when determining that residential property’s assessed value for property taxes.
When you make major changes to a home, those changes can affect the assessed value of your property, causing it to go up or down. There are already provisions in the state constitution that allow the legislature to exempt wind damage property changes, or solar or renewable energy devices, from property assessments. This amendment creates the same exemption for changes that protect property from flood damage.
We know that hurricanes like the recent Hurricane Ian destroy properties by both wind and flood damage, extending property tax exemptions to flood damage protection improvements makes sense. It would incentivize property owners to reduce the damage storms inflict on their properties and could reduce property insurance claims. With the state property insurance market in crisis, this Amendment could be a positive step in stabilizing the property insurance market and reduce the risks of expensive taxpayer bailouts.
Projected Fiscal Impact if Amendment 1 passes
Amendment 1 would result in small reductions in property tax revenues for flood protection improvements that would be taxed under current law.
RLCFL RECOMMENDS A “YES” VOTE ON AMENDMENT 1
“ABOLISHING THE CONSTITUTION REVISION COMMISSION.”
“Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to abolish the Constitution Revision Commission, which meets at 20-year intervals and is scheduled to next convene in 2037, as a method of submitting proposed amendments or revisions to the State Constitution to electors of the state for approval. This amendment does not affect the ability to revise or amend the State Constitution through citizen initiative, constitutional convention, the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission, or legislative joint resolution.”
Amendment 2 would repeal the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC). In 1968, Florida Voters approved a Constitutional Ballot Amendment that created the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC). The Constitution Revision Commission meets every 20 years. The Governor, House Speaker, Senate President, and Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court appoint Members of the Commission. The purpose of the CRC was to determine if existing constitutional provision should be repealed, scheduled into statute, simplified, or clarified. The CRC can place proposed Constitutional Amendments on a General election Ballot and Amendments must be approved by 60% of the voters.
The CRC last met in 2017-18 and proposed 7 Amendments to the 2018 General Election ballot. These 7 Amendments were on top of 5 other Amendments placed on the 2018 ballot by the Florida legislature and Citizen Initiatives. The 7 CRC Amendments placed on the ballot were criticized for “bundling,” or putting unrelated issues in the same amendment. This created a dilemma for many voters that would have supported one part of the amendment but not the other. For example, one CRC proposed Amendment would ban offshore oil drilling and on the same amendment banned indoor vaping.
Unfortunately, the CRC and the appointment process to the CRC has become highly political, unaccountable, and influenced by special interests.
Projected Fiscal Impact if Amendment 2 passes
We could find no estimates of the cost of conducting the Constitution Revision Commission. Its members are not paid, and it only meets every 20 years.
RLCFL RECOMMENDS A YES VOTE ON AMENDMENT 2
“ADDITIONAL HOMESTEAD PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION FOR SPECIFIED CRITICAL PUBLIC SERVICES WORKFORCE.”
“Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to authorize the Legislature, by general law, to grant an additional homestead tax exemption for non-school levies of up to $50,000 of the assessed value of homestead property owned by classroom teachers, law enforcement officers, correctional officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, child welfare services professionals, active-duty members of the United States Armed Forces, and Florida National Guard members. This amendment shall take effect January 1, 2023.”
Amendment 3 would increase the homestead exemption for teachers, law-enforcement officers, correctional officers, firefighters, emergency-medical technicians, paramedics, child-welfare services professionals and active-duty members of the military and Florida National Guard.
Under current law, homeowners can qualify for homestead exemptions on the first $25,000 of the appraised value of property. They also can qualify for $25,000 homestead exemptions on the value between $50,000 and $75,000. Any higher property value is taxable.
Under the proposal, homeowners in the targeted professions could receive an additional $50,000 exemption, which would apply to the property value between $100,000 and $150,000.
The current exemption for the value between $50,000 and $75,000 does not apply to property taxes collected for school districts, and neither would the proposed amendment.
Fiscal Impact if Amendment 3 passes
Amendment 3 is projected to save $80.9 million for the targeted property owners next fiscal year, with the annual savings growing to $93.6 million in five years.
The Revenue Estimating Conference estimated that approval of the amendment would reduce local property tax revenue (except school district tax revenue) by $85.9 million beginning in Fiscal Year 2023-2024.
The Florida State Legislature also passed House Bill 1563, which would take effect if Amendment 3 is approved. The bill provides for annual appropriations from the state legislature to fiscally constrained counties to offset the reductions in county tax revenue from amendments to the state constitution. This means an annual increase in the state budget.
RLCFL takes no position on Amendment 3. RLCFL supports our first responders, health care workers, and teachers but we have concerns about creating a special class of individuals based on their profession as it relates to taxation.
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