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Hillsborough County Will Lose $23 Million If Property Tax Amendment Passes

Aug 13, 2018

The November election ballot will have 13 constitutional amendments, including one to increase the property tax exemption.

Amendment 1 is effectively a tax cut for homeowners. A July poll by the Florida Chamber of Commerce found the amendment has overwhelming support from voters, but many local governments are afraid they will be negatively impacted by it. 

Hillsborough County Property Appraiser Bob Henriquez said Hillsborough County stands to lose about $23 million in tax revenue if the amendment passes. Local governments across Florida will find themselves in a similar situation.

Speaking to the civic group Cafe Con Tampa Friday, Henriquez, who cannot take a position on the issue, said the biggest misconception among voters is that everyone will get a tax break from Amendment 1.

"I think people think the $25,000 homestead exemption is going to all homesteaded properties, but it's not - it's only going to people whose properties are worth between $100,000 and 125,000 dollars or more," he said. "People will need to decide if the benefit that will go to some outweighs the loss that local communities will have."

A qualifying homeowner will save around $250 on average. But Henriquez said cities that rely on taxing property are likely to increase taxes elsewhere if the amendment passes.

The city of Tampa is projected to lose about $4 million as a direct result of the amendment. The city just returned to pre-recession revenue levels this year.

For that reason, city councilman Guido Manascalco is urging voters to reject the amendment.

"It sounds great, but think about the future, think about your children and grandchildren," he said. "We want to be fiscally sound, and we already are, but we have to maintain that and think about tomorrow. We can't be reckless."

The Florida League of Cities is also opposing the amendment.

The tax revenue that goes to schools will not effected by Amendment 1.