May 1, 2017

Property tax proposal: Middle class cut or massive tax shift? [Tampa Bay Times]

Mary Ellen Klas writes:

“TALLAHASSEE — Property owners vote, and most homeowners will vote for a tax cut.

That is the conclusion of a carefully crafted constitutional amendment before the Florida Legislature that will put an additional $25,000 homestead exemption for properties valued at more than $100,000 on the 2018 ballot.

And, while Realtors support the measure, believing fewer taxes will boost sales, affordable housing advocates warn this will widen an already growing gap between the working class with homes and those with jobs who cannot afford home ownership.

‘The result of this increase in millage would be to shift the property tax burden from owner-occupied homes to other properties, including rental properties,’ said Joe Pennisi, executive director of the non-partisan Florida Policy Institute [emphasis added]. ‘To the extent that many struggling with the housing gap are renters, it would be reasonable to assume that the building owners would increase rents to offset higher property taxes.’

Lee Feldman, city manager for Fort Lauderdale, warns that the popular tax break will put local governments in a box.”


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