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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Update on Why you should Vote Yes on Tax Amendment 1

I think this is a very important issue and wanted to make sure everyone is aware and informed of what Voting Yes on 1 on January 29th, will do to benefit our economy and the Real Estate Market in Florida.

Please pass on and get the word out!

Jan 21, 2008 – Florida Association of Realtors
Should you vote for the property-tax amendment? YES

By John Sebree
Florida Association of Realtors

For 92 years, Florida Realtors have enabled millions of people to realize the American dream of homeownership. In those 92 years, the housing industry has become Florida's 24/7 economic engine, contributing more than $108 billion, or 20 percent of Florida's gross state product.
The immediate property tax cuts that will result from the passage of Amendment 1 on Jan. 29 would go a long way toward revitalizing Florida's economy and keeping the American dream alive.

Here's how:

1) Thousands of Floridians who can't afford to buy up or down will finally be able to move, thanks to a provision in Amendment 1 called "portability." Homeowners will be allowed to take up to $500,000 of accrued Save Our Homes benefits to a new home. In Palm Beach County alone, portability could save taxpayers $2,145, according to the Office of the Majority Whip, state Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale. In Martin County, it would be $2,114, and in St. Lucie $1,261.47

The transactions resulting from portability would generate documentary stamp tax income for much-needed affordable housing throughout the state. The moves also would pump millions into local economies for goods (furniture, appliances, draperies, carpeting) and services (appraisals, home inspections, pest control, painting, electrical work, landscaping). In the first year after their purchase, home buyers typically spend nearly $9,000 for property improvements, furnishings and appliances, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

There's a trickle-down effect from these purchases, too, as these companies maintain offices, pay employees and independent contractors, buy cars and trucks for their businesses, use phones, computers and other business tools and much more.

2) The average homeowner in Palm Beach County would save $274 in property taxes immediately by the increase in the homestead exemption to $50,000 for almost all properties. That's $274 per property owner going toward local retailers and service providers, not local governments that should already be flush with cash from the rapidly rising property values of the past several years. Martin County homeowners would save about $215, while St. Lucie homeowners would save $331.

Local governments have a spending problem. While saying that they are "living within their means" or even "lowering property taxes," they've been collecting and spending millions more in new tax dollars. Firefighters and police officers were protecting our communities before the property tax surge and they'll be here to protect our communities without your savings from Amendment 1. In these economic times, all of us must tighten our belts.

3) Small business owners benefit from Amendment 1 as well. The amendment includes a $25,000 exemption on the tangible personal property tax paid on computers and office equipment. The state estimates that about 1 million businesses would save about $500 a year. Do the math: That's an additional $50 million to channel into the state economy at a time when it's sorely needed.

4) Second and vacation homes would become more attractive to out-of-state buyers who might otherwise take their dollars to Georgia, North Carolina or some other state. Amendment 1 caps property-tax assessments on non-homestead property at 10''percent. Current owners of commercial buildings, rental properties and second homes have seen their property taxes spike in recent years, particularly those located in high-value markets. Amendment 1 would protect these owners from unpredictable tax increases year-to-year, and free up millions for other commodities and services.

Florida's economy is in trouble. State economists estimate a deficit in the budget of $2 billion. Amendment 1 has the ability to produce $9.2 billion in savings over the next five years - again, money that could generate more, sustainable economic activity and taxes statewide.
Cut your taxes. Save the dream. Vote Yes on Amendment 1.

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