Florida teachers, police officers, firefighters, military members and child welfare professionals are a step closer to receiving another break on homestead property taxes. The House voted Thursday unanimously to put a constitutional amendment on the November ballot to exempt another $50,000 in property value from taxes for workers in those fields.
One measure (HJR 1) would put the issue on the ballot. Another bill (HB 1563) would implement the policy in law if more than 60% of voters approve, and it would take effect on Jan. 1, 2023. Both measures are scheduled for a vote in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday, the last hearing in that chamber before heading to a floor vote.
All homestead properties are exempt from the first $25,000 of value in property tax assessments, and from non-school taxes on the property’s value from $50,000 to $75,000. The bill would make the value of a homesteaded property from $100,000 to $150,000 exempt from non-school taxes.
The measure would save eligible homeowners — and cost local governments — $81 million in the first year and up to $93.6 million by the 2026-27 fiscal year.
According to a House staff analysis of the bill, it would also require the state to send $4.6 million to fiscally constrained counties — usually rural counties with small tax bases — because of the reduction to the tax rolls in those areas.
The bill is supported by law enforcement groups like the Fraternal Order of Police and the Florida Police Chiefs Association and has received bipartisan support.
During committee hearings, Florida Association of Counties lobbyist Bob McKee, sounded the only opposing voice. He pointed out the tax cut wouldn’t help teachers and first responders who didn’t own property and wouldn’t help those who own property valued at less than $100,000. Moreover, the tax burden would shift to those teachers and first responders because it was taken away from property-owning teachers and first-responders.