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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Senate releases tax plan with 10 percent cap



The Senate has just released a stripped-down plan that bends to the House's desire for an assessment cap on nonhomestead property but at double the rate. The plan, now at $12.4-billion over five years, includes:

-- Save Our Homes portability, up to $500,000.
-- Doubling the $25,000 homestead exemption. Schools are exempt so the break is more like $15,000, according to some estimates.
-- Tangible personal property break at $25,000.
-- 10 assessment percent cap for nonhomestead property, with school taxes exempt.

"Senators, thank you for the incredible patience and determination that you have demonstrated," Senate President Ken Pruitt wrote. "I firmly believe that we have a proposed constitutional amendment that provides tax relief and reform; that minimizes the negative impact on education funding; and that will be understandable and acceptable to voters this January."

Left out this time were additional breaks for low-income seniors and waterfront commercial property and first-time home buyers.

Said Sen. Steve Geller, "What the governor kept saying was very helpful: 'Keep it simple.' We have put together a moderate, responsible plan."

Here is the fiscal analysis. Here are the bills: SB 4 D and SJR 2 D.

Double Homestead Exemption (SJR 2D & SB 4D)

An additional $25,000 homestead exemption is provided for the value of homestead property above $50,000.  This exemption does not apply to school taxes.

Portability (SJR 2D & SB 4D)

Homestead property owners will be able to transfer their Save Our Homes benefit (up to $500,000) to a new homestead within two years of giving up their previous homestead.  If the just value of the new homestead is more than the previous homeâ??s just value, the entire differential can be transferred; if the new homestead has a lower just value, the amount of the accumulated benefit that may be transferred is proportional to the value of the new homestead. (For those who gave up their homestead in 2007 before the amendment was passed, the differential may be transferred if they apply for a new homestead January 1, 2008 or January 1, 2009.)  This provision applies to all taxes, including school taxes.

Tangible Personal Property Exemption (SJR 2D & SB 4D)

A $25,000 exemption is provided for each tangible personal property return. This provision applies to all taxes.

Assessment Cap for Non-Homestead Property (SJR 2D & SB 4D)

Non-homestead property will have a 10% assessment cap (similar to Save Our Homes) but the cap will apply only to non-school levies.  The 10% cap will sunset after 10 years, when it will be presented to the voters for re-approval.  Most residential property will be reassessed at just value when it is sold; commercial property and residential properties with 10 or more units will be reassessed after a significant improvement or a sale.  This provision will not take effect until the 2009 tax roll, or 2010 if the amendment is approved in November.  This provision does not apply to school taxes.

Fiscally Constrained Counties (SB 4D)

The bill requires an annual appropriation to fiscally constrained counties to make up for revenue reductions resulting from the adoption of the constitutional amendment by the voters.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 11:24am]


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