Tax exemption would help some residents but could hurt schools

If approved, motion would go to the November 2020 ballot

Photo does not have a caption

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida residents who are age 65 and older that have owned a home in the state for more than 25 years could soon be eligible to a tax exemption if a proposed bill is passed.

Certain residents would be exempt from paying a school property tax, which would ultimately take money away from public school districts. If approved by the legislature, the measure would be on the November 2020 ballot.

Duval County Property Appraiser Jerry Holland said his office can't predict how many residents would be eligible for the proposed tax exemption, but looked at the "Super Senior" homestead exemption to get an idea. The exemption has a requirement for maximum income and home value. 

There doesn't appear to be an income or home value limit in the new bill's language, which Holland said would mean the number of people eligible for the school tax exemption would be well over the 1,500 people who receive the the "Super Senior" exemption. That could mean a loss of about $556,200 for the district.

Duval County School Board member Cheryl Grymes said the board would prefer the bill not pass.

"I would hope that if the legislators go in this area that they have another opportunity for us to find more funding because we can't (lose funds). We need every penny," she said.

Grymes said the district's greatest expense is teacher salaries. Ultimately, she said, taking money from the district could mean less money to support teachers.

Here's what some News4Jax viewers said about the proposal: