For Immediate Release:
January 29, 2008
Contact: Vivian Myrtetus
Our position:Amendment 1 would help residents buy another home
January 27, 2008
Floridians don’t have to cross their fingers and wait for Washington to do something about the sagging economy.
Voters here can take matters into their own hands Tuesday by supporting Amendment 1. The ballot initiative would cut property taxes and could boost the real-estate market by making it more affordable to move from one home to another.
Amendment 1 is a vitamin shot to Florida’s popular Save Our Homes tax break. It would let homeowners take part of their savings with them when they move to a new home. Empty-nesters could better afford to downsize or growing families could more easily buy a bigger house.
Realistically, it will take more than Amendment 1 to solve Florida’s real-estate woes. But there’s evidence that Amendment 1 would fix a big problem caused by Save Our Homes, which caps increases in appraisals of owner-occupied homes at 3 percent a year or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower. It was designed to help families stay in their homes rather than be forced to sell to escape skyrocketing property taxes.
That safety blanket, though, can smother a family’s ability to move to a new home. Houses are reassessed at full market value when they are sold, so a family’s tax bill can triple, even if the house or condo they’re buying is worth less than their old home.
Families that can’t afford to pay those higher taxes don’t move. A 2006 study conducted for the Florida Association of Realtors by the Regional Economic Research Institute at Gulf Coast University found that making the Save Our Homes tax break portable would help.
The institute concluded that Save Our Homes forces Florida homeowners to stay in their houses an average of two and a half years longer to five years longer than they would if property taxes were lower.
What does that mean?
There are 4.3 million houses in Florida that qualify for Save Our Homes, so anything that hinders families’ ability to move is a big hit on the economy.
Save Our Homes amounts to a mobility tax – people pay it when they try to improve their lives by moving. That’s not right.
And don’t forget, when people buy homes they buy appliances, furniture and other big-ticket items, helping those industries and spurring the economy.
Amendment 1 certainly isn’t perfect. It won’t resolve the inequities in Florida’s property tax system. But don’t believe much of what opponents are saying.
Amendment 1 would cut property taxes. It would cap tax increases on businesses, rental property and second homes. And it would make it easier for thousands of families to sell their homes and buy new ones.
Those are reasons enough to vote for Amendment 1 on Tuesday.
Copyright © 2008, Orlando Sentinel
Paid political advertisement paid for and sponsored by Yes on 1 – Save our Homes NOW, Inc.
2640-A Mitcham Drive, Tallahassee, FL 32308.