Study points to tax hike if ballot proposal fails

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida TaxWatch released a study Tuesday projecting property taxes could increase by more than $700 million on non-homestead properties like businesses, apartments and second homes.

According to the group, the increase would happen if voters reject a proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot.

Known as Amendment 2, the proposal would extend a current 10 percent cap on annual increases in assessed values of non-homestead properties, a cap that voters approved in 2008.

TaxWatch Vice President Kurt Wenner said many Floridians are not aware of how much taxes could go up if the cap is lifted.

“If Amendment 2 fails to pass, it doesn’t mean that the cap is just no longer going to be in effect going forward,” Wenner said during a media event at the Florida Press Center. “It means that all of this property will suddenly be assessed at full value. This can be quite a big sticker shock when some people get their tax bills.”

Wenner said he expects potential tax increases would be passed along to renters and business customers, making the issue important whether someone owns property or not.

Supporters of the amendment say it is currently polling at just under 60 percent, which is the threshold for amendments to pass.

The Legislature in 2017 decided to put Amendment 2 on this year’s ballot.

Senator Tom Lee, a Thonotosassa Republican who sponsored the proposal in 2017, estimated at the time that failure to extend the cap would effectively lead to a $688 million tax increase.

In all, the November ballot will include 13 proposed constitutional amendments.