Increase in homestead exemption heads to the 2018 ballot

Today, the Florida House of Representatives passed Joint Resolution 7105 which amends the State Constitution to increase the homestead exemption by $25,000. This measure, if approved by the voters in 2018, will increase the overall exemption to $75,000 for hard-working Florida homeowners.

With no debate, the Florida House passed the additional homestead exemption by an 83-35 vote. With this vote, the joint resolution will now be placed on the 2018 statewide ballot for consideration as an amendment to the Florida Constitution.

“Today’s vote is a big win for all Floridians. If passed by the voters, this additional exemption will be one of, if not the largest, tax cut in the history of Florida at $645 million,” Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran said after passage of the Resolution. “For just the third time in state history the people will see real tax relief in homeownership. The average family will save enough to purchase clothes or school supplies for their children or grandchildren, catch up on bills or make another car payment, pay for healthcare or childcare, and so much more.”

The Florida Constitution requires all property to be assessed at “just value” (i.e. market value) as of January 1 of each year for purposes of ad valorem taxation. Ad valorem assessments are used to calculate property taxes that fund counties, municipalities, district school boards and some special districts.

The taxable value against which local governments levy tax rates each year reflects the “just value” less any exceptions and exemptions allowed by the Florida Constitution.

The “homestead exemption” makes the first $25,000 of assessed value of a homestead property exempt from all taxes. A second homestead exemption, makes the assessed value between $50,000 and $75,000 exempt from all taxes — other than school district taxes. The increase proposed in this Amendment, if approved, makes the assessed value between $75,000 and $100,000 exempt from all taxes — other than school district taxes.

The Florida Association of Counties, who is lobbying against the tax break for homeowners, estimates that St Johns County will potentially lose $6,570,577 in taxes for county government operations. Based on December 2016 figures, municipalities within St Johns County stand to lose an estimated $690,756 in ad valorem tax revenue due to the reduction in taxable values of homestead property if voters approve the Constitutional Amendment next year.

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