Vote YES on Amendment 2

Vote YES on Amendment 2 to help retirees, snowbirds and businesses

s the Property Appraisers for Florida’s three largest counties, we urge all voters to pay close attention to Amendment 2 on the upcoming November ballot. The amendment asks voters whether to make permanent a 10 percent limit on the annual increase in assessed value of a non-homestead property. A “yes” vote will avert a sudden and largely unexpected tax crisis for more than 530,000 residential and business property owners in Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

Most residential property owners in Florida enjoy the tax savings afforded by two $25,000 homestead exemptions. Business owners, rental property owners, second homeowners and part-time retirees whose permanent residence is in another state are not eligible for those exemptions.

For them, Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2008 that placed a 10 percent limit on the annual increase in assessed value of a non-homestead property. Over the past 10 years, these property owners have enjoyed significant tax savings because of this cap.

What many people do not know is that the 10 percent cap on non-homestead property is set to expire at the end of 2018. If Amendment 2 does not pass, more than a half-million residential and commercial property owners in South Florida will shoulder a total tax increase of $422 million effective Jan. 1, 2019.

For many high-value commercial property owners, the prospect of such an increase may be barely noticeable. However, please do not think that this is a problem for someone else who can easily afford it.

Consider the ripple effect of a repeal of the 10 percent cap. Think about the rental property owner who raises rent to make ends meet or the small-business owner – your favorite produce stand, car repair shop or family-owned restaurant – who raises prices to cover the additional cost.

Finally, consider Florida’s part-time retirees, many of whom are on fixed incomes, whose contribution to our local economy benefits us all year long. Can South Florida continue to attract part-time retirees, if the cap expires?