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Manny Diaz proposes amendment to limit school taxes for seniors

Proposed contitutional amendment would limit property assessment increases

Florida’s senior citizens who’ve owned a homestead exemption property for at least 25 years would be shielded from rising school taxes due to increasing property value, under a proposed Florida Constitution amendment proposed Monday by state Sen. Manny Diaz.

Diaz, a Republican from Hialeah Gardens, introduced Senate Joint Resolution 282. It proposes putting the question on the 2020 statewide ballot as a constitutional amendment proposal. His Senate Bill 284, also filed Monday, lays out the process that property owners could follow to earn the protection.

The measures propose the protection for Floridians who are at least 65 years old, who have homestead exemptions, and who have owned the home and lived there for at least 25 years.

The proposal is aimed to shield them from automatic tax increases due to increasing property values, specifically those taxes levied by school districts. While the measure would protect seniors, it would be another blow to school districts’ budgets based on increasing state expansions of homestead exemption benefits.

Diaz was not available to comment on the proposal.

The assessed value of the home would be locked in at the value assessed in the subsequent year to the application.

SB 284 also includes a provision that if someone is found to not have qualified during any of the previous ten years, the  county property appraiser can come down on the owner for past taxes and fines, with a potential lien. The bill would require appraisers to serve a notice of intent to record tax liens, provides exepctions from penalities and interest, and providing specific time frames for the home owner to pay up before a lien is filed.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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