Voters will head to the polls in exactly two months to decide whether to change Florida’s property tax law. Groups in favor of an amendment to cut property taxes could spend anywhere from $5 million to $15 million on their campaign. But as Chris Casquejo tells us, educators are gearing up for a fierce fight.
Public library leaders are upset. They say they’re already doing more with less. They worry there will be less money for books if voters approve a property tax cut in January. Educators also fear schools will lose big, and are finalizing a campaign against the amendment.
“Florida will continue to be falling further behind other states in comparisons of school funding,” said Mark Pudlow of the Florida Education Association. “And it will be making it much harder for us to keep and recruit the best teachers.”
The plan would allow homeowners to take their Save Our Homes benefits when they move. It also doubles the homestead exemption.
Under the amendment, business and other non-homestead property owners would have their annual property tax increases limited to 10 percent.
Business interest groups believe the amendment does not help enough. But they’re willing to get behind it and spend accordingly.
“It’s better to get half a loaf than no loaf at all,” said Barney Bishop with Associated Industries of Florida. “So is this something that’s still important for the business community? Yes, because our employees are impacted and our companies are still going to be impacted to the extent that at least we’ll have a cap of 10 percent.
Many polls, including the Florida Education Association’s most recent one, show that the amendment would not pass. But many voters remain undecided.
60 percent of voters have to approve the property tax cut amendment for it to become law.