Generally, I oppose Constitutional Amendments on principle — especially amendments sponsored by the legislature rather than by referendum from the people; so, I am not surprised that I find myself in opposition of proposed Amendment 4 to the Florida Constitution.
If Amendment 4 were adopted, it would create additional inequities in Florida’s tax system by granting certain tax breaks to some taxpayers — at the expense of others. Over the last few years, several property tax initiatives, including additional homestead exemptions, Save Our Homes portability and statutory millage caps, have contributed to the unequal treatment of Florida’s taxpayers.
This proposed constitutional change reduces the current assessment cap on non-homestead real property from 10 percent to 5 percent. The non-homestead assessment cap reduction and an additional first-time homestead exemption; equal to 50 percent of the just value of the property, up to the county median home value, apply to city and county taxes and not to school property taxes.
In St Johns County, we have enough homesteaders. What we need is something to encourage new businesses to invest in brick-and-mortar facilities that bring clean, better paying jobs for all those people who have already chosen to live here.
Amendment 4 creates a disadvantage for new businesses. It shifts the tax burden to new and growing businesses. Favoring established business with lower property taxes does not provide the same level of economic growth for the community as encouraging new construction of income producing, non-homestead property.
I hope Historic City News readers will educate themselves about Amendment 4 and vote against it.