Homestead Petition

A petition drive seeking to lower property taxes has more than 100 thousand verified signatures, which is more than twice the number needed to trigger a review by the state Supreme Court.

This proposed amendment is receiving mixed reviews from the public.

If passed, the amendment would double the tax exemption for people who live in homes that they own, and the difference would be picked up by the owners of commercial, vacant, and rental properties.

Alfred Clark says his name will not be on the list of Floridians petitioning to lower property taxes statewide. "Everybody likes their taxes lowered, but you can only lower them so far without things suffering."

The proposed amendment would lower property taxes by doubling the current homestead tax exemption of $25,000 to $50,000.

"I think the average homeowner has always felt like their home should have at least a homestead exemption that went up with inflation."

John Armstrong, a property owner, says "Naturally, being retired, any tax cut helps. So it sounds like a good idea to me!"

"If it's implemented, the amendment would save Leon County residents that own and live in their homes an average of $1100 a year... state officials say the rest would be made up by taxing the owners of commercial and rental property."

John Smith of the Florida League of Cities says "The way we estimate it currently, it would be about a $2 million shift from those homestead properties to the non-homestead taxpayer."

Representatives from the Florida League of Cities say this isn't fair to non-homestead taxpayers. But Leon County’s property appraiser says more than half of the 100 thousand parcels of land in Leon County are homestead properties. And more than likely, the amendment will be on the ballot in November.

In addition to commercial and rental property owners, the owners of vacant and industrial property would also have to pick up the slack from the doubled homestead exemption.

Leon County’s property appraiser says the Leon County School Board and the County Commission could each lose around $11 million, and the city itself could lose close to $2.5 million.


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