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Two Florida Taxpayer Groups Announce Support for Amendment 4

Oct 2, 2012 | WMFE - Two Florida taxpayer groups have announced their support of a state constitutional amendment on November's ballot that would bring big changes to property taxes. Meanwhile, a Washington think tank says it's a bad idea.

Amendment 4 would cut taxes for first-time homebuyers and lower the cap on raising taxes on non-homestead properties, like second homes, vacation homes, and businesses, from 10 percent to 5 percent. Doug Guetzloe of the taxpayer group Ax the Tax says Amendment 4 would also give state lawmakers the authority to stop taxes from going up when property values go down.

“In Central Florida, we’ve had a lot of people who’ve been hit hard where their property is, as they say, 'underwater,' or not worth the value that they have in the mortgage,” says Guetzloe. “Well, they can actually end up paying more in property taxes even though the house’s value has gone down. So, Amendment 4’s going to correct that situation.”

Ax the Tax announced its support for Amendment 4 along with the Florida Taxpayers Union, which Guetzloe chairs. The Florida Association of Realtors also backs the legislation. Independent government watchdog group Florida TaxWatch says the amendment would create more than 20,000 jobs and boost personal income as well as home sales.

But, analysts say it would also cut about $1.7 billion from city and county coffers statewide over the next four years. That means already-struggling local governments would have less money to provide services. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a fiscal policy organization in Washington, D.C., calls Amendment 4 "deeply flawed" and says it will ultimately lead to tax increases for large numbers of Floridians while generating "little if any economic benefit."


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