Property tax break for teachers, cops, emergency responders headed to ballot
Jason Brodeur. Image via Colin Hackley.

“(Small counties) are more or less going to be held harmless because we understand the effect this could have on the 23 fiscally constrained counties."

Florida voters will decide this November whether teachers, police officers, certain health care workers, emergency responders and child welfare workers will get an additional homestead property tax break after the Legislature approved the measure Thursday.

The Senate voted 37-1 in favor of HJR 1, which puts a constitutional amendment on the ballot for the General Election which would exempt another $50,000 in property value from non-school property taxes for homestead properties owned by eligible workers.

Homestead properties for all homeowners are exempt from the first $25,000 of value in property tax assessments, as well as from non-school taxes on the value of the property from $50,000 to $75,000. The bill would make the value of a homestead property from $100,000 to $150,000 exempt from non-school taxes, but only for the eligible workers.

Another bill (HB 1563), which would implement the measure in law if at least 60% of voters approve of the amendment, was passed 37-1 as well. Sen. Bobby Powell, a West Palm Beach Democrat, was the only member to vote against the bills.

Both bills passed the House on 115-0 votes on Feb. 24.

If approved by voters, the changes would take effect on Jan. 1, 2023 and 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.

There was little opposition to the bills as they moved through legislative committees, although some Democrats said the measure doesn’t do much to address the larger affordable housing issue for workers who weren’t included, such as hospitality workers.

Republicans countered the measure will aid some workers, and was intended to reward front-line employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as health care workers and first responders.

Another concern raised by Bob McKee of the Florida Association of Counties was that it would erode the tax base of smaller counties. But backers of the bill inserted a provision to give $4.6 million annually to fiscally constrained counties.

“They are more or less going to be held harmless because we understand the effect this could have on the 23 fiscally constrained counties,” said Sen. Jason Brodeur, a Sanford Republican and sponsor of the Senate version of the bills.

Gray Rohrer

One comment

  • tom palmer

    March 10, 2022 at 3:48 pm

    This is just political pandering. A lot of those people make more than I ever made. It doesn’t deserve to be in the Florida Constitution.

Comments are closed.


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