The group Florida Realtors has poured $6.6 million into its political committee aimed at Amendment 2’s passage.
Amendment 2 would make permanent a property tax cap voters passed in 2008 for non-homestead properties. The constitution says those taxes can only be increased by 10 percent annually, but the measure will expire January 1. Amendment 2 would keep the taxing limit in Florida’s constitution. It excludes local school district taxes from the property value limits.
Non-homestead properties include second homes, rental properties and commercial properties.
Florida Realtors Vice President of Public Policy Carrie O’Rourke said the organization has been supportive of the tax cap since its passage in 2008 because it provides certainty in the marketplace, keeping the cost of living down.
“Continuing that certainty in the marketplace again leads to a strong economy, strong communities and so that if you’ve got a healthy marketplace it maintains the affordability of homeownership,” she said.
She said losing the tax cap could cause large property tax increases which would harm small businesses and renters.
“We are really concerned if this 10 percent cap fails that this increase will be passed on to renters and really you’re putting the tax burden on Floridians who can least afford it across the state,” O’Rourke said.
Among the groups fighting Amendment 2’s passage is the League of Women Voters of Florida saying “no tax sources or revenue should be specified, limited, exempted, or prohibited in the Constitution.” Another group, Floridians Against Misleading Amendments, opposes it too, saying local governments rely on property tax revenue. It calls the tax cap corporate welfare for some of the largest properties in the state.
But Amendment 2 doesn’t have near the opposition that Amendment 1 has, which is also a tax measure. O’Rourke said Florida Realtors is neutral on Amendment 1, which would grant an additional $25,000 homestead exemption for homes valued over $125,000.
Groups like the Florida Association of Counties, Florida League of Cities and individual city governments including Jacksonville City Council oppose Amendment 1’s additional homestead exemption. Jacksonville estimates its passage would trigger a $36 million loss in revenue in a year.