The first of three proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution that the Florida Legislature voted to place on the ballot this November is an effort to help homeowners fight the effects of rising sea levels and climate change.
Amendment 1 would add language to the constitution that would prevent home improvements made to elevate all or parts of their homes to prevent or minimize flood damage from being added to the assessed value for purposes of property taxes.
A 2021 Florida Senate staff analysis said the proposed constitutional amendment would reduce local government property-tax revenues by $5.8 million during the 2023-2024 fiscal year, with the amount growing to $25.1 million annually. The estimate was made after Florida property owners in the prior 20 years made more than 4.85 million flood-damage claims through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
- LIMITATION ON THE ASSESSMENT OF REAL PROPERTY USED FOR RESIDENTIAL PURPOSES. Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution, effective January 1, 2023, to authorize the Legislature, by general law, to prohibit the consideration of any change or improvement made to real property used for residential purposes to improve the home’s resistance to flood damage in determining the assessed value of such property for ad valorem taxation purposes.
All voters will be asked to say “yes” or “no.” It takes 60% of the vote for any amendment to be added to the constitution.
Arguments for passage of Amendment 1
- State Sen. Ben Albritton (R): “The future of our state is at risk of flooding and sea level rise. These threats have the potential to impact our residents, their homes, and their businesses. Left unaddressed, consequences would be far-reaching, devastating infrastructure, tourism, and the entire economy.”
- Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R): “Florida is home to 7 of the 10 cities with the largest property losses at risk from flooding. Sweeping legislation from the Florida House will dedicate $100 million each year, beginning in 2022-2023, to mitigate the impacts of flooding and sea level rise that would damage our homes, disrupt businesses and displace families and employees. To meet the challenges of flooding and sea level rise, we must ensure that our communities are better prepared for the future. This legislation will protect Floridians, their homes, and the businesses that drive our growing economy. Together, we can build a stronger and more resilient Florida.”
- State Rep. Demi Busatta Cabrera (R): “Our regional efforts have led the way in responding to flooding and sea level rise, and we are committed to supporting them. No matter where you live in Florida. We want you to have the best information and innovation to address these problems.”
- State Rep. Linda Chaney (R): “Homeowners who are taking proactive measures to protect their property from flooding should not only be rewarded, but they should be incentivized.”
Arguments against Amendment 1
- Ballotpedia did not find any lawmakers or others making public statements opposed to this amendment.
Dozens of proposed amendments didn’t make the ballot this year
You might notice there are actually fewer amendments on the ballot this election year than most. More than 20 other proposed changes to the Florida Constitution failed to make the ballot this year. They addressed marijuana possession, ban assault weapons, voting rights, preserve abortion rights or ban the procedure, game farm hunting, pandemic lockdowns, sports betting, school prayer, wetlands dredging, toll roads and much more.
Those initiatives either failed to gather at 891,589 signatures (and at least 8 percent of the voters in at least 14 of Florida’s 27 congressional districts), they got enough signatures but the Florida Supreme Court ruled the ballot language wasn’t legal. In one case a Legislative proposal that would have limited school board members to a maximum of eight-year terms failed to pass the Florida Senate and House with at least 60% of the vote.