French Brown Explains Possible Florida Taxpayer Effects Due to Proposed Amendments

Dean Mead SALT attorney, recently authored the Law 360 article “How Florida’s Proposed Amendments Would Affect Taxpayers.” In the October 24 article, Brown reviews information regarding three amendments related to Florida’s tax system. The Florida Legislature placed these tax-related amendments to Florida’s Constitution on the upcoming election ballot. Florida voters will decide their fate (along with nine others) on November 6.

The full guest article was first published in Law360 and is provided here with permission from Law360.

How Florida Proposed Amendments Would Affect Taxpayers

So that voters are well-informed about the implications to Florida taxpayers, Brown describes Amendments One, Two, and Five in the article, including:

Amendment One – Increased Homestead Property Tax Exemption
It would create an additional $25,000 property tax exemption for homestead properties with an assessed value greater than $100,000.

Estimated Impact
It is estimated to have a negative fiscal impact on counties, municipalities, and some special districts in the amount of approximately $645 million in 2019, $663 million in 2020, and $681 million in 2021. However, the Legislature has proposed separately funding fiscally constrained counties[1] in order to protect those counties from the negative fiscal impacts of the Amendment.

Amendment Two – Limitations on Property Tax Assessments
It would retain the 10% cap on annual assessment increases for non-homestead properties.

Estimated Impact
It is estimated that there is approximately $73 billion in non-homestead values protected by the current 10% cap. If Amendment Two fails, it will result in a tax increase for non-homestead property owners and remove the protection currently in the Constitution. Removal of the 10% limitation is estimated to have a positive fiscal impact for counties, municipalities, and some special districts – approximately $688 million in 2019, $673 million in 2020, and $667 million in 2021.

Amendment Five – Supermajority Vote Required to Impose, Authorize, or Raise State Taxes or Fees

  • Prohibit a state tax or fee from being imposed, authorized, or raised by the State Legislature except through legislation approved by two-thirds (2/3) of each house of the Legislature;
  • Prohibit the reduction or elimination of any current exemption or credit for a state tax or fee without a supermajority vote of each house of the Legislature; and
  • Require that any legislative proposal imposing, authorizing, or raising a state tax or fee or reducing or eliminating an exemption or credit must be contained in a separate standalone bill that does not contain any other subject.

Amendment Five does not apply to any tax or fee imposed by or authorized to be imposed by, a county, municipality, school board, or special district.

Estimated Impact
It would create a new constraint on the Florida Legislature’s ability to enact, authorize or increase state taxes and fees. It does not directly result in a fiscal impact to the state’s budget or local government budgets, although it would make it more difficult for the Legislature to raise taxes or fees in the future.

Brown also has recently provided commentary specific to Amendment 2 for other publications:
Backers of Amendment 2 say its defeat will amount to a tax increase for all Floridians
Backers press case for Amendment 2
Amendment 2 gets $4 million boost from Florida Realtors
There’s no catch: Amendment 2 Supporters say it’s for Everyone


[i] Florida’s fiscally constrained counties are: Baker, Bradford, Calhoun, Columbia, Desoto, Dixie, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Glades, Gulf, Hamilton, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Okeechobee, Putnam, Suwannee, Taylor, Union, Wakulla and Washington.

About French Brown:
French offers clients more than 10 years of experience handling matters that combine governmental relations work with his expertise in State and Local Tax. He started his career as counsel for the Department of Revenue where he quickly rose to a leadership position managing over 50 people and as a key member of the agency’s legislative team. He is very well respected for his knowledge in this area and is viewed as a key player in any proposals to change state and local tax.