What you need to know about Amendment 2
Regardless as to whether you rent or own a property in Southwest Florida, you should be concerned about the passage of Amendment 2.
The November ballot measure, which is strongly backed by tax and real estate organizations throughout the state, moves to extend a 10 percent cap on property taxes.
A similar measure was passed in 2008, supporters say, but the protections of the 2008 amendment will sunset on January 1.
If Amendment 2 fails to pass, property taxes throughout the state could increase by more than $700 million. In the absence of voter support, this means that all non-homestead property (ie: vacation rentals, apartment buildings) will be assessed for taxes at their full value.
This could be quite a shock to the checkbooks of property owners come tax time.
Why renters need to be concerned
If you rent a house or condo, you may be wondering how a possible increase in property taxes will impact you, since the place you’re renting is owned by someone else.
Experts believe that should the 10 percent cap be lifted, property owners will pass the increase onto their tenants. Rents throughout the state could increase drastically—which could be devastating to both renters and seniors who are on a fixed income.
Warning from Florida TaxWatch
Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic M. Calabro has indicated that if Amendment 2 fails, and the cap is not extended, would also have a negative impact on part-time residents, owners of undeveloped land and businesses.
“Property taxes are Florida’s largest state and local tax source, and the disparity between homestead and non-homestead property taxes is already significant,” Calabro said in a press release. “While Florida has done a great job protecting homestead residents from tax increases, similar protection should be left in place for non-homestead properties.”
Not surprisingly, both Florida TaxWatch and Florida Realtors are urging voters support the amendment when they cast their votes in November.
Get out to vote
Advocacy groups are urging people who aren’t currently registered to vote, to do so in advance of the voter registration deadline. If you’ve moved, you should know that you need to re-register.
If you’re unsure as to where your local polling place is, be sure to check the county website so you’ll know where you can cast your ballots. If you plan on voting by mail, be sure the ballot is postmarked before the deadline.