By Greg Giordano
Senator Fasano’s Senate Joint Resolution 658 (SJR 658/ HJR 381) was built from Amendment 3 which was placed on the November ballot by the Legislature in 2009. This joint resolution clarifies 1st time homebuyers definition, protects public schools and fairly treats all property owners.
“The passage of this joint resolution is one of the few economic development measures passed by the legislature this year,” Senator Fasano states. “If adopted it will help spur Florida’s sluggish housing market, help homeowners save on their property taxes and give new homebuyers an opportunity to perhaps purchase their own home.”
SJR 658/ HJR 381 proposes a constitutional amendment for the November 2012 election. If adopted by the constitutionally required 60% of those voting, it will provide first time buyers of homestead property with an exemption of 50% of the home’s value up to the median home price in the county. This allows for the differences in each county’s real estate markets to be taken into account. For example, the statewide median property value is currently $124,000. The highest is Monroe County, which is roughly $300,000. The lower ends include Marion County, which is $54,000.
“The public school systems of each county will be held harmless,” Senator Fasano states. “The school portion of the tax bill will be exempted from the provisions of the resolution. In these tight economic times we recognize that schools can’t afford to lose any additional funds.”
In the early 1990’s the Florida Cabinet approved the so-called “Recapture Rule” which allows tax collections to increase on properties even though the appraised value of the home drops. The proposed amendment will give the Florida Legislature the ability to address the Recapture Rule by general law, rather than through the constitutional amendatory process.
“If the voters adopt this proposed amendment it will be a major tax break for those who desire to buy property in Florida,” Senator Fasano comments. “Additionally, it will give the legislature its long sought authority to fix the burdensome, and during tough economic times, perhaps even punitive effects of the Recapture Rule. Current and future homeowners will benefit from the adoption of this amendment to Florida’s Constitution.”
If adopted during the 2012 general election the provisions will become effective January 2, 2013 and will apply to property purchased on or after January 1, 2012.