Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Trapped in a state of denial

The Miami Herald leads page one today with a story premised on the idea that lots of Florida homeowners would be moving into bigger houses if only the property tax wouldn't be so painful in their new digs. Here's Mary Ellen Klas getting wound up:
Across the state, Floridians are finding that they can't afford to move into a new home because of rising prices and property taxes -- a legacy of the red-hot real estate market and the unintended consequence of a constitutional amendment called Save Our Homes.

The 1992 amendment caps the increases on assessed values of properties that qualify for homestead exemptions to a maximum of 3 percent a year. But the cap ends when you buy a new home. That means someone who pays taxes on $100,000 of assessed value, sells his home for $300,000 and buys a $400,000 home could pay four times as much in taxes.
As authors of this "portability" theory see it, you should be able to have your cake and eat it, too -- escaping taxes on present value as well as any future value when you move up. So who IS going to pay for schools and streets and police protection, given that Florida is so committed to avoid the income tax that most progressive states employ to share the burden of public services?

One can imagine the real estate agents getting all excited about this idea. Maybe that's why 11 different versions of it have been filed.

I wasn't able to quickly find the text of these bills, but Sen. Jeff Atwater has filed a couple of "shell" bills that could become the vehicle for the legislation. All it would take is one of those last-minute midnight amendments that the Florida Legislature uses so deftly to escape the light of publicity -- and reason. You can watch S1202 and S1204 from this link.

If you're registered at MiamiHerald.com, you can read the full story here.

1 comment:

Miamista said...

j-hop comes through again. god, you're so right about this being a realtor agents shot in the dark and the makings of more legislation in the dark.