TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) - A proposal that would increase homestead property-tax exemptions for teachers, military members and first responders is ready to be considered by the Florida House.
The State Affairs Committee on Thursday approved a pair of linked measures (HJR 1 and HB 1563) that could reduce non-school property tax revenue by more than $90 million a year.
Sponsor Josie Tomkow, R-Polk City, said the proposal is "one piece to the puzzle" in making Florida "the most desirable state for homeownership for not only these individuals, but everyone who wants to come to our great state." Rep. Dotie Joseph, a North Miami Democrat who voted for the measures, said the state needs to do more to make Florida affordable for all residents.
"The issues being addressed in this bill are not just faced by the professions that were selected in this bill," Joseph said. Bob McKee, a Florida Association of Counties lobbyist, said the proposal would shift more of the tax burden to non-homeowners, businesses and some people in the targeted professions who are renters.
Currently, homeowners can qualify for a homestead tax exemption on the first $25,000 of the appraised value of property.
They also can qualify for a $25,000 homestead exemption on the value between $50,000 and $75,000.
Any higher property value is taxable. Under the proposal, residents could receive an additional $50,000 exemption if they are teachers, law enforcement officers, correctional officers, firefighters, child-welfare services professionals or members of the U.S. armed forces or the Florida National Guard.
The exemption would apply to the property's value between $100,000 and $150,000. The current exemption for the value between $50,000 and $75,000 doesn't apply to property taxes collected for school districts, and neither would Tomkow's proposal.
If lawmakers pass the proposal during the legislative session that will end next month, it would need to receive voter approval during the November elections.
The Senate version (SJR 1746 and SB 1748) has been approved by one committee.
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