Florida Realtors pumped more cash into the committee supporting a proposed constitutional amendment that would make permanent a cap on increasing property taxes for non-homesteaded properties.
Amendment 2 is for Everybody received $500,000 from Florida Realtors last week according to newly filed finance reports, bringing their total financial support for the initiative to $1.56 million. Florida Realtors, the state’s largest professional trade association, has pitched in all but $100 of the funds raised by the committee thus far.
The week of Aug. 4 through Aug. 10 also saw the committee spend nearly $50,000, with the largest expenditure being a $16,017 payment to Denver-based Access Marketing for advertising.
Consulting contracts accounted for the bulk of rest of committee spending, with Brent Anderson, Giberto Caldero, Drew Carroll, Brianna Garris, Jacob Gil, Anders Hancock, Ann Howard, Carter Layton, Lilian Oliveros, Michael Sontag and Shelbi Warner collecting a combined $24,000 in consulting fees and an additional $5,635 in travel reimbursements.
Additionally, law and lobbying firm Dean Mead was paid $3,500 for legal and professional services. Curiously, the committee made a $500 contribution for a similarly named political committee, Everybody is for Amendment 2.
At the end of the reporting period, Amendment 2 is for Everybody had $505,404 in the bank.
Amendment 2 would cap property tax hikes on properties that don’t have a homestead exemption, such as vacation homes, apartment complexes and undeveloped lots, at 10 percent. A similar measure was already approved by voters in 2008, but it is scheduled to sunset on Jan. 1, 2019. If Amendment 2 is successful, however, the policy would continue without a gap.
Amendment 2 is for Everybody has put out ads this cycle touting as “protecting all Floridians” and “keeping communities whole,” while saying it is not a tax cut unlike Amendment 1, which would increase the property tax exemption for homesteaded properties by up to $25,000 depending on the assessed value of the home.
“Amendment 2 helps communities thrive by preventing excessive property tax increases that can drive families and businesses away,” one of the campaign’s first video ads stated. “Amendment 2 protects renters from rent increases brought on by higher property taxes. Amendment 2 ensures Florida remains an affordable place to live, work and do business, which is why community leaders, small business owners and your local realtors support Amendment 2.”
Amendment 2 was placed on the November ballot by the state Legislature and is one of 13 constitutional amendments that will go before voters this fall. Constitutional amendments need 60 percent support to pass.