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August 22, 2007

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –Associated Industries of Florida’s (AIF) board of directors has announced support for the Governor and Legislature’s call for a constitutional amendment creating a Super-Homestead Exemption. The amendment would increase the current $25,000 homestead exemption to as much as $195,000, depending on the assessed value of a home.   It would offer tremendous savings to homeowners – especially first-time homebuyers.

“This Super-Homestead Exemption could be the 'shot in the arm' Florida’s real estate market needs.  It will release the lock-in effect that Save Our Homes (SOH) has created, and allow Floridians to purchase a new home or sell their current home,” said Barney Bishop, president and CEO of AIF.  “In addition, we anticipate this new economic activity will jumpstart increased spending on home renovations and construction, which have been a leading factor in promoting a strong Florida economy.”

The proposed constitutional amendment specifically impacts Florida businesses through the $25,000 tangible personal property tax exemption. Passage of this amendment will:

  • Exempt one-million of Florida’s 1.3 million businesses from any filing requirements
  • Bring about a savings of $1 billion over the next five years
  • Save compliance costs for those who are completely exempt

"While this proposed constitutional amendment does not address the continued cost-shifting from homeowners to the commercial real estate market, we are confident elected leaders will take up this important issue during the 2008 session.  Any steps we can take to boost our slumping housing market and improve Florida's future is better than allowing a fundamentally unfair method of taxation to worsen, or continue unabated, which is what some opponents of this amendment are hoping," said Bishop.

Other benefits that could result from the approval of the proposed amendment include the eventual phasing out of the SOH tax cap:

  • Many inequities in Florida’s tax system have resulted from the SOH tax cap
  • Under the amendment, first-time homeowners and existing SOH beneficiaries who buy new homes would be required to take the Super-Homestead Exemption
  • The amendment would allow current owners of homestead property to choose the new exemption or keep the SOH tax cap – if they plan to remain in their present home

"While there is not a perfect solution and more work remains to be done, AIF applauds our elected leadership for responding to the cry from Florida’s residents to offer property tax relief,”  said Bishop.  “The Super-Homestead Exemption will help move our economy in the right direction - at a time when it is sorely needed.  It will put money back into the hands of the vast majority of homeowners.”

AIF pledges to continue work with state leaders on property tax issues critical to the vitality of the business community including addressing the “highest and best use” issue for business owners, as well as an overhaul of the assessment process for working waterfronts and marina's, and a change in the assessment appeal process.