PORTABLE CAP ON PROPERTY TAXES WOULD CREATE FLAGRANT INEQUITY
January 17, 2006
The "Save Our Homes" amendment, which took effect in 1995, guaranteed Florida's property taxes would become more inequitable every year. Now the Legislature is leaning toward compounding the problem, says the Tampa Tribune.
A proposal getting bipartisan support would let homeowners take their tax break to a new house along with the furniture. The result would be divisive and outrageously unfair, says the Tribune.
- Existing law caps the increase in assessed value of a homestead at 3 percent a year.
- That means people who've been in their homes a long time may pay only 40 percent or less of their property's true value, while their new neighbors are taxed at 100 percent.
- The difference in taxes on identical property can be thousands of dollars a year.
But the constitutional amendment does accomplish what its name implies, says the Tribune. It prevents abrupt increases in property taxes that could drive folks out of the homes they have owned for years.
The flip side of this protection is that it can trap people in their houses. When a house is sold, its taxable value is reset to market value. The amendment would let homeowners transfer their tax break and keep their tax bill about the same, making their move possible.
But a portable tax break would add complexities and create even greater inequities, says the Tribune. People buying identical next-door homes on the same day could pay wildly different property taxes for the rest of their lives. That means they would have different views about taxes and local government.
The costs of local government services would fall even heavier on renters and owners of commercial properties, says the Tribune.
Source: Editorial, "Portable Cap On Property Taxes Would Create Flagrant Inequity," Tampa Tribune, January 17, 2006.
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