TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (The News Service of Florida) - Amendment One on the Florida ballot will create a bigger property-tax break for homeowners by increasing the homestead exemption by $25,000.
Right now homeowners get a tax exemption on the first $25,000 dollars in property values, then they pay taxes on the next $25,000, and get another exemption on the portion between $50,000 and $75,000.
This will add an additional exemption between $100,000 and $125,000.
Critics said this proposal will raise taxes for Floridians because local governments will have to make up for the lost revenue.
"Cities and counties have already said that they're planning on passing that tax shift on to everybody else," said Dominic Colabro, President of Florida TaxWatch. "So, it's only a small percentage of homesteaded property owners who get it, and those who don't will pay the price."
Supporters said expanding the exemption could help first time buyers afford homes and boost such things as documentary stamp taxes, which stem from real estate transactions.
"When the Homestead Exemption was first enacted, it practically exempted most homes," said Carey Baker, Lake County Property Appraiser. "So, as values go up, to slowly and incrementally increase the exemptions, it's really about fairness to just make sure we're not taxing people out of their homes."
The proposal is estimated to cut local government revenue statewide by about $645 million per year. To pass, Amendment One needs the support of 60 percent of Florida voters.