Florida to vote in November on additional property tax exemption for certain public service workers

The Florida State Legislature referred a constitutional amendment to the November ballot that would allow for an additional homestead property tax exemption on $50,000 of assessed value on property owned by certain public service workers, including teachers, law enforcement officers, emergency medical personnel, active duty members of the military and Florida National Guard, and child welfare service employees.

Property taxes in Florida are levied by counties, school districts, cities, and special districts, which set millage rates. One mill is equal to $1 per $1,000 of assessed value. Homes in Florida are assessed at just value (market value), minus the homestead exemption. Currently, every primary residence is eligible for a $25,000 homestead exemption. Another $25,000 homestead exemption is applied to homesteads that have an assessed values between $50,000 and $75,000. The homestead exemption reduces the taxable value of a property. In Florida, other property tax exemptions may be granted for those with disabilities, those deployed on active military duty, disabled veterans, surviving spouses of veterans or first responders, and low-income citizens aged 65 or older.

To put the legislatively referred constitutional amendment before voters, a 60 percent vote was required in both the state Senate and the state House of Representatives.

This amendment was introduced as House Joint Resolution 1 on January 11, 2021. It was approved by a vote of 115-0, with four representatives not voting and one vacancy. It was passed by the Senate on March 10, 2022, by a vote of 37-1, with one senator not voting.

The state Legislature referred two other constitutional amendments to the 2022 ballot. One of the amendments would abolish the Florida Constitution Revision Commission, a 37-member commission that meets every 20 years to propose changes to the state’s constitution and refer them to the statewide ballot for voter approval or rejection. The other amendment would allow the legislature to pass laws prohibiting flood resistance improvements made to a home from being taken into consideration when determining a property’s assessed value for property tax purposes.

A total of 78 measures appeared on the statewide ballot between 2000 and 2020, including six measures that appeared on the statewide ballot in odd-numbered years. Between 2000 and 2020, 71.79% (56 of 78) of statewide measures were approved by voters and 28.21% (22 of 78) were defeated. The number of measures appearing on the even-year statewide ballot between 2000 and 2020 ranged from three to 13.

The Florida State Legislature was set to adjourn its 2022 legislative session on March 11, 2022.