Most people would rather forget 2008.
That was the year the U.S. financial crisis took a turn for the worse and Florida’s real estate market crashed.
But it was also the year that Florida taxpayers approved a constitutional amendment that made several changes to how municipalities tax commercial property, rental property and other non-homesteaded property.
One of the provisions of the 2008 amendment to the Florida Constitution was the approval of a 10% cap on the growth of non-homesteaded assessed value. This was a victory for owners of commercial property as well as those who own vacation homes in Florida or second homes here.
That’s because non-homestead property owners bore the brunt of increases in tax assessments prior to 2008 while homesteaded owners of residential property were shielded by an assessment cap thanks to Save Our Homes and its champion, Lee County Property Appraiser Kenneth Wilkinson.
But there was a hitch to the 2008 amendment: the 10% cap wasn’t meant to be permanent and it was given a 10-year life before expiring. Now the cap is scheduled to be repealed on Jan. 1 unless voters approve a new amendment on the ballot in November.
Who is against Amendment 2? It’s not clear there is any opposition, even from municipalities that stand to benefit. Perhaps the biggest challenge is voter fatigue and some worry that Floridians may vote “no” on every amendment by default. It needs the approval of 60% of voters to pass.
Florida TaxWatch calculated that failure to pass Amendment 2 could mean a tax increase of more than $700 million, especially on businesses in the state. The organization has a good primer on why Amendment 2 is so important. Take the time to read it over here here and pass it on to friends.