Gov. DeSantis delays property tax payments for Ian victims; wants Special Session
Is Ron DeSantis as solid a candidate as he seems?

DeSantis
'The last thing we want is someone loses their home and then they get hit up for property taxes for a home that doesn’t exist anymore.'

Gov. Ron DeSantis is signing an executive order postponing property tax payments for residents severely affected by Hurricane Ian, which slammed Southwest Florida Sept. 28, bringing deadly storm surge, powerful winds and significant flooding to that area and Central Florida as it trudged through the peninsula.

“The last thing we want is someone loses their home and then they get hit up for property taxes for a home that doesn’t exist anymore,” DeSantis said during an event Thursday in Fort Myers Beach, one of the hardest-hit areas.

The executive order will delay payments on property taxes for both residential homes and commercial properties in the 26 counties approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for individual assistance: Brevard, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Flagler, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Monroe, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns and Volusia.

It’s designed for people who saw major damage to their home, with the ultimate goal of removing the tax burden for this year altogether. DeSantis noted he doesn’t have the authority to completely eliminate the taxes, but will call a Special Session later this year for the Legislature to provide property tax rebates for homeowners and business owners.

That Special Session, though, will likely include more than just the rebates. DeSantis said the state, flush with $17 billion in reserves, could provide local governments in Southwest Florida that will see a hit to their budgets because of the lack of property taxes with funding for essential services, such as fire departments.

Another potential item on the Special Session agenda is reforming property insurance laws to prop up the market in Florida, which saw six companies go bankrupt even before Ian hit. Initial data from the Office of Insurance Regulation shows insured losses are estimated at $6.45 billion, based on claims submitted as of Wednesday.

DeSantis said he’s spoken with Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, a Naples Republican, and Rep. Paul Renner, a Palm Coast Republican, who are set to become the Senate President and House Speaker, respectively, after the November elections, and both are supportive of the Special Session. An exact date for the session will be announced in the coming days, he said, but will be after the Nov. 8 election and before the end of the year.

“I believe impacted homeowners should receive a refund for property tax paid during any time their home was uninhabitable,” Passidomo said in a released statement.

“The Legislature has provided this same benefit to impacted communities following prior storms, and I have every confidence my colleagues will be happy to support similar action for those impacted by Hurricane Ian. The Governor has been a strong champion for Southwest Florida during this trying time for our community, and I look forward to continuing to work with him on this and other legislation to help our region recover and rebuild.”

Renner, too, is on board with the Special Session.

“The Florida House will work closely with Governor DeSantis and our Senate partners to provide tax relief to Floridians whose homes were impacted by Hurricane Ian,” Renner stated. “I also look forward to joining my colleagues in Tallahassee to work towards fortifying consumer-driven reforms to our property insurance market.”

House Democrats are also keen to address the property insurance crisis in a Special Session, but are skeptical of what Republicans, who are likely to hold their large majorities in each chamber after the election, are going to pass.

“We’re glad Governor DeSantis is finally on board with what Florida Democrats have been saying the whole time: our property insurance market is in crisis and Floridians are suffering. I’m just sorry it took a hurricane to get him to act,” said Rep. Fentrice Driskell, a Tampa Democrat and next in line to lead House Democrats after the November election.

“Obviously, we will need to see what they propose. Our last Special Session was specifically about property insurance, and it didn’t even come close to solving the problem. We’ll need to see specific plans and how they’ll actually help the people of Florida. This is not the time for half-measures.”

Gray Rohrer


15 comments

  • Lynda

    October 20, 2022 at 2:15 pm

    Re: deSantis pauses property tax for severely damaged homes and commercial businesses. Seeks Special session.
    One good idea from deSantis especially as he plans to use left-over money from Federal Government sources to pay for essential services in counties with most damage.

    Too bad renters won’t get comparable funds if their homes are totally gone.

  • ScienceBLVR

    October 20, 2022 at 7:11 pm

    Gosh, is there no level DeSantis won’t sink to? Reminds me of the scene in Casablanca where Louie is “Shocked, shocked” to find out gambling is going on in the club..Did it just occur to DeSantis there is a property insurance crisis in Florida? Gee whiz, when did that happen?

  • tom palmer

    October 20, 2022 at 8:02 pm

    I’m willing to reserve judgment until I see what the Governor proposes. It will affect local government revenue. maybe there is a way to pro-rate it. property taxes are based on what existed on Jan 1 and property owners enjoyed and occupied the property for most of the year. Not sure how this impacts other taxes

  • Jake Peters

    October 20, 2022 at 8:56 pm

    Fentrice Driskell said last special session “didn’t even come close to solving the problem.” Calling for yet another special session less than 120 days from the effective date of the May 2022 special session implies that “too little, too late” was an accurate assessment of the May special session.

  • Impeach Biden

    October 20, 2022 at 11:25 pm

    The hurricane was created by George Soros to try and get DeSantis.
    Isn’t it curious how the original track had it going straight to Tallahassee? 🤔

    Better luck next time George.

    • Joey

      October 23, 2022 at 5:44 pm

      Go get your meds. You are crazy to think humans control weather. lol. Have to be a repudican.

  • Steve Winalis

    October 22, 2022 at 7:18 am

    My home in Matlacha was wiped off the map. Wind and flood insurance was over $23,000 annually and we couldn’t afford that.
    I really hope we can get some help.

  • Mr. Haney

    October 24, 2022 at 3:30 am

    Yet another special session? Why didn’t DeSantis do his job while the legislature was in session?

  • GiGi

    October 25, 2022 at 8:58 am

    Aren’t property taxes paid in arrears by funds held in escrow (prepaid monthly with mortgage payments)? So, wouldn’t that money already have been paid by any affected homeowners? And, wouldn’t any property LOST no longer be taxed anyway?

    Maybe I don’t understand property taxes, but I think this kind of contingency is already accounted for by the existing system.

    Maybe this helps those homeowners who own their property outright?

    I’m sure someone will educate me if I’m mistaken.

  • William Rose

    October 27, 2022 at 5:06 pm

    Public adjuster activities and fees should not be restricted any more than they already are. The truth of the matter is that public adjusters are not the cause of rising litigation fees revolving around property insurance cases in the state of Florida. These cases are a direct result of insurance company activities to deny coverage and not properly investigate claims and also in their policy language denying any form of mediation that would require them to document the file in the first place such as appraisal and only giving the property owner mediation as an option. Insurance companies have lawyers present at these mediations and therefore the property owner usually takes one there as well after they file suit against the insurance company. If you wish to reach out to me and discuss further, please call me at 813-702-2490. I’m tired of this mess and want our lawmakers to reel these insurance companies in and make them do their jobs. Take some lessons from Texas and Louisiana and get this done correctly. Now!

  • Frank

    October 27, 2022 at 10:41 pm

    Defense attorneys are a problem. I have a claim that was delayed due to a lack of authority at three levels of management. I was transferred to a partner in defence counsel law firm.. I have 32 yrs experience in claims for companies (26yrs) and as Public Adjuster (6yrs). I have provided 3 paths to resolution of the loss and it appears the attorney simply cannot negotiate the loss with me, the loss has to go to a plaintiff attorney and so his company can bill real time on the file. The company will ultimately see that they have severely underpaid the claim and defended it in error. The company will then pay both the defense attorney and plaintiff attorney. The estimate was written by a nationally recognized restoration company with MRP for most carriers ( IICRC certified branch office).

    This happens on most of the claims that become problems, as the insurance companies no longer depend on IA firms that provide career track jobs. The IA’s are all newbies 65% and the desk examiners are inexperienced and have no authority to settle claims. The field and desk adjusters never talk or know who each are. This is poor management at the insurance company, and a flaw in the industry.

    This is not a problem created by this Public Adjuster.

  • Mark Streeter

    October 28, 2022 at 9:37 am

    Jimmy Patronis has his eye on the wrong target. What astounds me, is how could the States CFO sign our licenses as Public Adjusters and turn around only to throw us under the bus in the public’s eye. It seems he really had no interest in our industry in the first place, was not really educated on what we do, and didn’t care until he started getting heat from the carriers threatening to pull out. You don’t hear the stories of my offering clients a room in my AirBnb, free, after their house was destroyed by flood. Or bringing food, water and supplies to them in the aftermath of the storm. Nope, he just continues to take the easy shots of stupid actions left behind from some bad actors. Meanwhile, the real fraud is being committed right under his nose! I’ll explain…
    As a Public Adjuster with many years of cat claim experience, I am always in awe at the predatory actions of restoration companies and contractors. From the largest to the smallest restoration companies there’s continuous unregulated, excessive equipment use, excessive billing, and no regard for following IICRC protocols. From the contractors slamming homeowners into AOBs and “adjusting” claims on their behalf with an insurance company’s inside adjuster who never asks the appropriate question; “Do you hold a Public Adjuster’s License?” I see it daily! I read an article the other day that a nationally recognized restoration company had a 50 million dollar project they landed for restoration on Ft. Myer’s beach. Let that sink in, 50M for restoration. I don’t know about you, but if something needs $50 million in restoration, there’s nothing left to be restored. Speaking of which, when was the last time any of us have actually seen a property “restored” to it’s “like it never happened” condition? I’ve seen the tarping of perfectly good roofs being destroyed by nail guns to put down the furring strips. I’ve seen houses gutted with more destruction left behind then when the restoration company started. All this happens daily in the unregulated restoration industry, yet the insurance companies still pay the vendor’s bills in the millions. I’ve reported some of these unethical contractors to the Department of Financial Services only to find Mr. Patronis’ office never followed up with me or the homeowner regarding the complaint. Meanwhile, I’m trying to help an elderly client who’s GCA was 27k with 16k depreciation and 8k deductible. I made $600.00! $600.00 dollars for making sure the insurance company saw what my client and I saw. $600.00 for speaking with the adjusters on the same level and requesting a window expert be assigned, which they agreed to but one never showed up. $600.00 to build an accurate estimate. $600.00 to review the policy. $600.00 to speak to my client almost daily, holding her hand because of the confusion of the claim process. $600.00 that I’ll have to wait for because the check will be tied up with the mortgage company! What about the recoverable depreciation that rarely gets collected by the policyholder because they were never informed or it was never explained how to collect it. Billions are left on the table for the Insurers to keep! But Public Adjusters are the problem?? The problem is the corruption of the insurance companies and their deceitful ways, crooked contractors, and bad restoration companies. I would love for our CFO to go with me for a ride along in a day and the life of what I see. Jimmy Patronis, your sights are on the wrong target!

Comments are closed.


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