In what may be a first for the U.S., the state of Florida is proposing a plan to offer property owners a choice between two ways of calculating property taxes.
"Pending voter approval in January, residents would have two choices next year: Keep their current homestead exemption and Save Our Homes cap of 3 percent assessment increases, or switch to a new 'super exemption' that would provide deeper immediate tax cuts with future increases limited by a new cap on city and county revenues."
"Democrats and Republicans had argued earlier this week that many voters would not willingly give up the guaranteed annual cap of 3 percent increases in the future even if they received deeper cuts immediately with new exemptions equal to 75 percent of the first $200,000 of their home's value and 15 percent of the next $300,000. Those exemptions are far greater than the current $25,000 exemption."
"But many lawmakers said that new caps on local government revenues based on population and inflation would only limit increases in the future to as much as 10 percent annually and that a few years of big increases would make the new plan less favorable than the current Save Our Homes cap."
"One national tax expert said it would be the first multiple-choice tax system in the nation in a flawed experiment."
"'Allowing citizens to decide, on an individual basis, the amount of their property taxes is ridiculous,' said David Brunori, an editor with State Tax Notes. 'The way it is proposed, everyone will seek to minimize their property tax burden to the detriment of local government services. To maintain the same level of education and public safety spending will require massive state increases.'"