Cape Coral Republican Rep. Dane Eagle detailed a pair of bills he’s sponsoring Tuesday, one of which would provide property tax relief for Floridians whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Irma.
“Many Floridians have been unable to live in their primary residences due to the destruction caused by Mother Nature through Hurricane Irma, and adding insult to injury, they have received a property tax bill from the government for their damaged property,” Eagle said. “The Hurricane Irma Tax Relief Act will allow these homeowners to apply for a tax abatement for the days their home was uninhabitable and will allow them to retain more of their much-needed, hard-earned money.”
The bill, HB 1375, would require homeowners to apply for the tax break before March 1, 2019, and those applications must be reviewed and approved by county property appraisers by May 1, 2019.
The amount of the abatement would be based on the percentage difference in a home’s value post storm compared to its assessed value on Jan. 1, 2017, as well as the number of months the home was uninhabitable. Under the bill, if a home was unlivable for 16 days out of a month then whole month would be counted toward the abatement.
If the tax abatement comes out higher than a homeowner’s total property tax bill for 2019, the money would carry forward and apply to their 2020 tax bill.
Eagle also detailed another bill he’s sponsoring, filed in October, that would allow people who have received “not guilty” verdicts for criminal charges to have their records expunged.
HB 1075 would not apply in the case of certain serious crimes, such as sex offenses, kidnapping or fraud, though current law does not allow for expunction for any cases that make it to trial regardless of the verdict.
“Current law allows for an individual to expunge certain arrests once over a lifetime if the charges were dismissed or if adjudication of guilt was withheld. Expanding this opportunity to those who exercised their constitutional right to a fair trial for certain crimes and were found not guilty is simply the right thing to do and can better help these individuals find gainful employment and become productive members of society,” Eagle said.
HB 1075 has been referred to the Criminal Justice Subcommittee, Judiciary Committee and Justice Appropriations Subcommittee. HB 1375 was filed Monday and has not yet received committee assignments.