Monday, October 6, 2008

Oct. 6: Vote Yes On Florida Amendments 3, 4 and 6

By Sylvia Gurinsky

A trio of tax reduction amendments on the Nov. 4 ballot in Florida are all common sense and could encourage Floridians to get a lot greener, in more ways than one.

Amendment 3 would provide tax exemptions to homeowners who do more to protect their homes from hurricanes or make them energy efficient. Amendment 4 would provide a property tax exemption for landowners who decide to conserve their land and not develop it. Amendment 6 would assess the tax rates for waterfront businesses based on their current use, rather than best projected use.

Amendment 4 provides the most opportunity for mischief. Florida Trend reports that the Florida Legislature, which will write the details if voters approve the measure, could define conserved land in any number of ways. Floridians will have to guard against that. The publication also says that Amendment 6 could put more of a crimp in municipal budgets. But current use is a more sensible move than projected use.

All three amendments could help with a difficult economic situation for Floridians. Voters should say Yes to Amendments 3, 4 and 6.

11 comments:

dave said...

actually on my ballot #3 says..." prohibit consideration"! quote. sounds deliberately confusing .
any thoughts ??
should vote no from what i read

dave said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike Conduris said...

This is complete bullshit! I am college degreed engineer and I have an MBA degree. I'm not saying I'm super bright but I can't understand this damn ballot for the life of me! The people who wrote up these amendements shoudl be shot at a firing squad!

Anne K. said...

I agree with everyone here. I work for an attorney, and can just about see past any amount of BS. I'm confused on this crap. I don't even think the Cliff Notes version would help. I voted no on 3, because it "prohibits", and I don't think "consideration of changes or improvements" should be "prohibited". If someone makes "improvements" on their house, especially those of a renewable energy source, they should be rewarded as such. Just my opinion though. 3 and 4 are confusing as hell.

chelle j said...

# 6 looks like a no too...
why should it 'need' assessment??
if it is just basically a 'public access.
(To make a higher tax there??)

#3 is definitely a no-

Agreed, these ppl that write this stuff should be smacked!!!
Just think of all the ppl who vote wrong....all the that would of passed- but didn't-
Or all the crap that did that shouldn't of-
#2 was surprisingly clear-

Nick said...

What amendment three is pushing to do is erase a section of the limitation of property tax restriction. So if approved (vote:yes) This section in the constitution and statures of Florida article VII
finance and taxation; section 3. (Taxes; exemptions.-- article D) will be removed

(D) By general law and subject to conditions specified
therein, there may be granted an ad valorem tax exemption to a
renewable energy source device and to real property on which
such device is installed and operated, to the value fixed by
general law not to exceed the original cost of the device, and
for the period of time fixed by general law not to exceed ten
years.

The amendment wants to Remove any restrictions on the amount of money a tax exemption is paid to a person who protects there house and who adds renewable energy devices to there homes (Florida Go's Green both in money and energy).

PDF of the full text of constitution available at the following link: http://election.dos.state.fl.us/initiatives/fulltext/pdf/12-4.pdf

chelle j said...

That site
http://election.dos.state.fl.us/initiatives/fulltext/pdf/12-4.pdf
is not clear, b/c it is not written up like the ballot says.
It says:
Changes and Improvements Not Affecting the Assessed Value of Residential Real Property

Authorizes the Legislature, by general law, to prohibit consideration of changes or improvements to residential real property which increase resistance to wind damage and installation of renewable energy source devices as factors in assessing the property's value for ad valorem taxation purposes. Effective upon adoption, repeals the existing renewable energy source device exemption no longer in effect.
(Just sounds like a no vote to me:
Authorizes the Legislature to prohibit consideration of changes or improvements in assessing the property's value /that is what I see)

Nick said...

What it says on the ballot is only a summary written up by some guy in Tallahassee that feels that's the best way to express the amendment. The link is the actual revision the amendment will have.

I found this opinion in the herald tribune page A14. Its expressed a little more clearly here


"Authorizes the Legislature, by general law, to prohibit consideration of changes or improvements to residential real property which increase resistance to wind damage and installation of renewable energy source devices as factors in assessing the property's value for ad valorem taxation purposes. Effective upon adoption, repeals the existing renewable energy source device exemption no longer in effect."


-In other words, say you own a house in Florida and, wisely, want to reinforce -- or "harden" -- the structure to make it less susceptible to hurricane-force winds. Those improvements might qualify you for an insurance discount, but they could also increase the home's value. Under state law, the county property appraiser is required to include the value of the improvements in the appraisal, which helps determine property taxes.

That law applies to all properties, including those that receive a homestead exemption and benefit from the "Save Our Homes" cap on appraisals for tax purposes.

The same law and principle apply to improvements that include the installation of "renewable energy source devices," such as solar panels.

Amendment 3 would allow, but not require, the Legislature to change that law, so property appraisers wouldn't have to increase appraisals to account for storm protection and renewable-energy improvements.

The savings to homeowners would not be huge -- Florida TaxWatch, a business-based group, estimates taxpayers' savings around $4 million annually, or about $17 in taxes per $1,000 of added value in an individual house -- and the changes wouldn't apply to commercial businesses.

Such changes would cost local governments some revenue, but the reduction would be small and the potential benefits to property owners -- and governments, which pay for disaster relief -- would be significant.

Plus, as a TaxWatch assessment notes, strengthening houses and promoting alternative energy sources are important public policies. It doesn't make sense to raise property owners' taxes when they make investments to meet those goals.

Nick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nick said...

In effect what you (chelle j) get from it, "Authorizes the Legislature to prohibit consideration of changes or improvements in assessing the property's value /that is what I see", Is true it does authorize legislature to prohibit the consideration of changes or improvements in assessing the property's value.

Under CURRENT law If you add hurricane shutters or/and solar panels the state appraiser assess the value of the house higher (Property value is included when figuring out your property taxes) so you get taxed more because now the value of the house is higher according to the CURRENT LAW.

If amendment 3 is passed and you add hurricane shutters and/or solar panels these additions to the property will no longer be considered, (Authorizes the Legislature to prohibit consideration), when the appraisal is done. Therefor your property taxes wont increase if you add these things giving people more of an incentive to protect against hurricanes and to use renewable energy sources.

Critics might say that when a person goes to sell there house with these additions they wont be compensated for the money the spent on the additions. But a person can sell there home at any value they want, so they can include the cost of the panels/shutters if they wish.

Its a clear yes if understood fully. Don't let the cloudy legislative formal language scare you into voting no

wendy.phillips said...

.. #2 is clear because it is based in fear and they want it to be that way. It is also sponsored by a group outside of government. What they don't say is that 2 is not really about marriage but more about erasing all rights from people who are domestic partners. Bottom line: 2 is not a gay issue like many are lead to believe - how can you strip away rights from a group of people that do not have rights to begin with. You are stripping away rights from the elderly. If your grandmother decided to live with a man for companionship but didn't want to marry them because they would loose their pensions. If one of them got sick, if 2 passed they would no longer have rights to visit or care for each other if they were hospitalized. That is the real issue.

On the others, the more confusing the better it is for them. It is just getting people to the polls to vote for the candidates.

Just a thought - Happy Voting!