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Extend “Save Our Homes” Portability Period Amendment

Summary

Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution, effective January 1, 2021, to increase, from 2 years to 3 years, the period of time during which accrued Save Our Homes benefits may be transferred from a prior homestead to a new homestead.

The measure would amend section 4 of Article VII and create a new section in Article XII of the state constitution, as follows:

 

Article VII

FINANCE AND TAXATION

(8)a. A person who establishes a new homestead as of January 1, 2009, or January 1 of any subsequent year and who has received a homestead exemption pursuant to Section 6 of this Article as of January 1 of any either of the three two years immediately preceding the establishment of the new homestead is entitled to have the new homestead assessed at less than just value. If this revision is approved in January of 2008, a person who establishes a new homestead as of January 1, 2008, is entitled to have the new homestead assessed at less than just value only if that person received a homestead exemption on January 1, 2007.

Article XII

SCHEDULE

Transfer of the accrued benefit from specified limitations on homestead property tax assessments; increased portability period.—This section and the amendment to Section 4 of Article VII, which extends to three years the time period during which the accrued benefit from specified limitations on homestead property tax assessments may be transferred from a prior homestead to a new homestead, shall take effect January 1, 2021.[4]


LPF Stance: No

Description

If approved, this would increase the amount of time for which homeowners can apply for Save Our Homes transferred homestead tax exemptions from one homesteaded property to a new homestead from two years to three.

Libertarian Party of Florida Platform

I. State Government

  1. Private Property and Markets: 

Private property is all property owned by non-government entities. We recognize the rights to private property and self-ownership as a basic human rights. Therefore, one of the functions of government is to protect the private property rights of all persons under its jurisdiction. This includes private entities having the right to voluntarily transfer ownership of their private property, free of government price or quantity controls, intervention or taxation.

VI. Paying for Government

  1. Ending Tax Favoritism: 

As long as we have taxes, equal protection of the law requires that for each type of tax, the rates should be the same and the tax base should be calculated in the same way for every individual or business.

There should be no abatements, subsidies, credits, refunds or other preferential treatments as incentives to businesses to invest or create jobs, or as a privilege to individuals or classes of individuals, such as age, race or location.  Such tax favoritism should be unconstitutional.

 

Discussion

The 1992 Save Our Homes Amendment places a cap on the increases of the assessed value of a homesteaded residence in Florida. The original intent was to decrease taxes on homesteaded properties in Florida by placing caps on the appraised value on homes and land. It didn’t do that.

While the Libertarian Party of Florida welcomes any chance to decrease taxes, SOH created several problems in the attempt to curtail increasing Florida property taxes. For example, while SOH places a cap on the assessed value of a residence, it fails to address the tax rates themselves. Those taxes can be incrementally increased each year regardless of a property’s value. Indeed, they often are increased to compensate for the SOH limits. Similarly, the legally arbitrary homestead exemption itself shifts the burden of these taxes from homesteaded property owners to non-homestead property owners, who receive no such exemption. They pay even higher taxes as a result.

Similar arguments were made in the past about SOH adjustments. In 2008, Florida TaxWatch argued against Amendment 1 on the basis that portability transfers—as we see in the current Amendment 5—represented a constitutional challenge. They also argued the burden was placed on non-homesteaded homeowners who have seen the largest tax increases in Florida, creating an obvious and unfair tax disadvantage. The Miami Herald also urged a “No” vote because adjustments to the homestead exemption only further complicated Florida’s now incomprehensible “archaic tax system.”

It is the position of the Libertarian Party of Florida that we should focus our efforts on cutting government spending and taxation rather than playing games with property value. Only with responsible spending will that burden ease.

The LPF recommends No because the SOH program has only shifted tax burdens from homesteaded property owners to non-homestead property owners, creating an unequal tax system and further complicating Florida’s incomprehensible tax code.

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