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Florida House pursues property tax cut

TALLAHASSEE – Voters next year could be asked to expand Florida’s homestead property-tax exemption, under a measure introduced Wednesday in the House that quickly drew objections from local governments.

As a companion to a nearly $300 million tax-cut package, the House Ways & Means Committee voted 13-6 to approve a proposal (PCB WMC 17-04) that would ask voters in November 2018 to expand by $25,000 the non-school homestead exemption.

Rep. Mike La Rosa, a St. Cloud Republican and real-estate developer who is handling the bill for the committee, said it is about making homeownership more affordable. The Senate does not have a version of the bill.

“At minimum, this constitutional amendment gives the ability of homeowners and non-homeowners to make a decision if they want to lower their costs of owning a home and achieve that American dream,” La Rosa said.

The state Revenue Estimating Conference projected that, if approved by voters, local governments collectively would see non-school property-tax revenue drop by $752.7 million annually starting in the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

Committee Chairman Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, had estimated the change would save property owners an average of about $170 a year.  Read More