Every newspaper in Florida, including DIARIO LAS AMERICAS, opposes Amendment 4 because it imposes a new property tax policy that harms long-time home-owners favoring those who have second homes and live here part of the year and commercial property owners who need to carry their own weight like everyone else.
What this amendment does is increase property taxes for growing businesses and residents who have homestead property tax exemptions. Here is why. Amendment 4 gives special tax advantages to first time homebuyers in the State. While to some this may mean our children who have grown and lived here it really means those who buy vacation homes or couples who look to have a second home to escape from the cold winter months up north who will enjoy that tax break. For businesses the picture does not get better. Commercial properties would be artificially capped benefiting some over others. Current businesses would benefit but those that expand into new locations or those who want to move to Florida would pay a higher tax which does not sit right with the business community. Competitors may have a tax advantage over another.
There was a time when Florida enjoyed a simple property tax formula but today there are so many exemptions that we have become a state of fixed inequities because many are being placed in our Constitution. Today, two property owners with identical properties within the same neighborhood will have very different property tax assessments through Save Our Home which nearly everyone now agrees was a mistake. That is why this newspaper has opposed legislation placed in the Constitution because if there is an unintended consequence, it cannot be fixed by tweaking the legislation. It would need to be repealed by a 60% vote statewide first, not an easy feat.
Additionally, Florida is increasingly beginning to resemble the federal government with a complex tax code that benefits some over others. Favoring one group over another is divisive and wrong. It will drive good families away as well as businesses. Those who rent will face higher prices as the owners will pass the additional costs to their customers. Those who cannot leave will face higher taxes because the costs of the benefits enjoyed by those who do not pay for them have to be absorbed by those who really call Florida home, those who feel a responsibility to help maintain the needs of our great cities.
Voters who call Florida home need to say NO to Amendment 4.
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