Well… the post title might be a little on the ambitious side. I certainly can’t claim to cover every aspect of this proposed amendment in this setting. However, there are a couple of key points worth considering.
Lots of Hype
First of all, there has been a lot of fluff on both sides of this issue. Here are some bottom line facts for you:
- Amendment One is a tax cut.
- The taxable basis for your home’s value — if you already have (or qualify for and ultimately receive) the homestead exemption — will be reduced by $50,000 rather than by the current amount of $25,000 if the amendment passes. This means that no matter what the millage rate in your area, your property taxes will be based upon a lower number than today.
- Amendment 1 is opposed by Florida’s unions: the teachers, the firemen, and the AFL-CIO. These are the people whose jobs are dependent upon your taxes. They have been threatened with job cuts and salary reductions if it passes, so it’s no wonder that they’re campaigning against it. See my previous post on Amendment 1 to learn what the Sarasota School Board did to threaten its workers.
- Amendment 1 is a tax cut.
- Some people argue that Amendment One represents insufficient tax reform, and therefore it shouldn’t be passed. This is a little like going to the emergency room with a broken bone showing through your skin and having a doctor tell you, “We can stop the bleeding, but your bone will still be broken.” Naturally, you stop the bleeding first (in case you’re medically challenged, it is possible to bleed to death). Then, when the bleeding has stopped, you figure out how best to help the bone heal.
- Did I mention that it’s a tax cut?
- Florida’s housing market has been having a hard time lately… or hadn’t you noticed? One massive deterrent to purchasing a second (or different) home as a Floridian is the “hit” you’ll take on property taxes due to the change in the assessed value of the property you purchase. Amendment One allows you to take your “Save Our Homes” property tax limitations with you to your next house. This makes the property tax situation a little less painful. It can make a substantial difference on a given transaction. More people buying houses means a better housing market. A better housing market means all those Realtors (R), mortgage brokers, title agents, property insurance salespeople, builders, remodelers, home improvement stores, et cetera all do better. They, in turn, spend money with your small business, big business, tourist attraction, theme park, and — yes — they pay more in taxes.
- Amendment 1 could actually result in more revenue to local governments and even the State government, but it will happen naturally because people choose to spend money rather than having it squeezed out of them through exorbitant property taxes.
- But… all of that being said, Amendment One is still a tax cut.
The Bottom Line on Amendment One
I’m not a big fan of President Bush’s performance in office — not at all. That being said, I’m going to steal from a page in his final (can anyone say, “Thank God!”?) State of the Union Address. If you want to pay more in taxes and those schools, fire departments and local governments to have more money, they accept checks and money orders. (Some of them probably take Visa, too.) Go ahead. Send it to them.
But do it because you want to do it. Don’t do it because a revenuer assessed it from you.
Oh… One More Really Important Detail
The January 29th Presidential Primary is your only chance to vote on Amendment One. Get out there and vote, will you?