What’s going on with Florida tax collectors?

A man installing hurricane straps to secure roof trusses.
As hurricane season looms, lawyers are leading tax collectors off a cliff while regular folks in Florida suffer.

In an inexplicable campaign against the successful and popular PACE funding program, a group of tax collectors openly defied a circuit court judge who ruled the PACE program could be operated statewide.

PACE is a valuable program that helps thousands of moderate-income Floridians harden their homes against hurricanes. Rather than paying financial institutions directly, PACE assessments are placed on tax bills. The program has been around for almost 15 years and has been an excellent alternative to piling up credit card debt for thousands and thousands of hurricane-wary Floridians.

Last year, when approving the annual statewide bond financing, a judge ruled that all Floridians can access the program. A group of tax collectors refused and, after almost a year had passed, asked the same judge to reconsider his ruling.

The judge’s answer: Tax collectors must include PACE assessments on their tax rolls.

Undeterred, some tax collectors are defying the judge.

The gall of these bureaucrats is remarkable. Tax collectors have been quoted saying that they don’t like the program and think it’s not good for the people getting assessments.

But it’s not tax collectors’ job to insert their opinions about whether Florida homeowners should be allowed to borrow money to protect their most valuable assets from storm damage and crushing insurance premium increases.

The truth? Tax collectors’ defiance is the real threat to Florida PACE participants who have already made well-informed decisions to utilize the program.

Thousands of Florida homeowners have chosen PACE and virtually all of them have been able to pay their bills. But now, because the tax collectors refuse to abide by the judge’s ruling, the program has been suspended in many locations, leaving some homeowners with incomplete work and others with bills due to contractors.

Liens are being taken out on homes and roofers and HVAC providers are left in the lurch.

In other words, tax collectors’ defiance maximizes harm to the people they claim to be protecting. One has to wonder if their incessant litigation could also negatively impact the stability of Florida bond markets.

The Florida Legislature has recently passed excellent legislation that further improves and expands this program, and a judge has ruled all Floridians should have the opportunity to get financing for hurricane-hardening and other improvements.

The tax collectors’ defiance is eerily reminiscent of other Florida officials — such as district attorneys — who refused to enforce laws with which they disagreed.

We all know how that turned out.

As hurricane season looms, lawyers are leading tax collectors off a cliff while regular folks in Florida suffer. It’s time for residents’ well-being to take precedence over dug-in heels and open defiance.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of FloridaPolitics.com, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.


  • Dont Say FLA

    April 24, 2024 at 12:43 pm

    But if homes were hardened, the insurance industry lines about having to raise rates 20% to 30% with every renewal would no longer be even potentially plausible. And we can’t have that!

  • Patricia

    April 24, 2024 at 6:33 pm

    It’s crazy how homeowners insurance has risen! It’s making people leave there homes & if you need to make a claim they drop you.It’s a double edge sword.They take your money for years & when something happens they don’t want to pay or can’t. It’s sad & shameful.

    • Florida really does have an income tax

      April 26, 2024 at 6:03 pm

      Florida DOES have an income tax which is around 8-15% for most households (not counting car insurance nearly double the national average and nearly zero public transportation). It’s called homeowners insurance. It’s a private tax you have to pay otherwise the bank takes your home, but it doesn’t actually give anything back except to the politicians who line their pockets with lobby money and campaign donations. So if you line up Florida along those lines against other states, it has some of the highest taxes including higher sales tax and hidden taxes like communications taxes that are some of the highest in the nation, and high cost of living and high homeownership costs, combined with lowest comparative wages (due to “no income tax” and “low cost of living” myth) and lowest worker protections. Suddenly the great place to retire thing doesn’t hold enough water for majority of people. That’s why people are looking at other states again. For businesses and the very wealthy, it is still an extraordinary value proposition, and thereby would actually benefit from an income tax or capital gains tax offset by lower insurance costs and other taxes. I would rather pay an income tax based on my earnings than an inflated and continually increasing fixed cost that is upside down vs my income and home value. I also would really support the state abolishing property taxes in favor of a flat sales tax which again is based on consumption, not the future value of my home that only exists if I sell the home, which then means I no longer have a home, which is absurd.

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