Amendment 3: Increase homestead exemption for teachers, first-responders, military

The third proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution that the Florida Legislature voted to place on the ballot this November this year would increase the homestead exemption for teachers, law-enforcement officers, correctional officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, child-welfare services professionals and active-duty members of the military and Florida National Guard.

State officials project that this would collectively save the targeted homeowners $80.9 million in property taxes in next fiscal year, with the annual savings growing to $93.6 million in five years.

The Florida Association of Counties opposed the proposal in the legislature, saying it could shift more of the tax burden to businesses and to renters, who would include members of the targeted professions. However, the association has not taken a position on the amendment in the November election.

Ballot language:

  • ADDITIONAL HOMESTEAD PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION FOR SPECIFIED CRITICAL PUBLIC SERVICES WORKFORCE. Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to authorize the Legislature, by general law, to grant an additional homestead tax exemption for nonschool levies of up to $50,000 of the assessed value of homestead property owned by classroom teachers, law enforcement officers, correctional officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, child welfare services professionals, active duty members of the United States Armed Forces, and Florida National Guard members. This amendment shall take effect January 1, 2023.

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 3

(Collected by Ballotpedia and presented below under the GNU Free Documentation License)

  • State Rep. Josie Tomkow (R): “Home values and property taxes are on the increase, and Florida’s critical public employees deserve a break. They shouldn’t worry about whether they have a home to return to while they are out protecting ours.”
  • State Rep. Bobby Payne (R): “Florida is grateful for the sacrifice of our critical public employees. This legislation builds on the House’s commitment to affordable housing for Floridians.”

Argument opposed to Amendment 3

  • State Sen. Bobby Powell (D): “I don’t think that us putting another homestead exemption on the ballot alleviates or helps with the situation that we’re currently facing. I am of the belief that the priority at this point should be to figure out how we can get police and firefighters and teachers into a home, whether it be first-time homebuyers, whatever it be, we need to figure out how to get them into homes.”