The Facts on Amendment 4

Patricia Delinois
2012 President of the Residential
Board of Governors
MIAMI Association of REALTORSA(R)

When voting in election years, it is important to focus on constitutional amendments as well as on candidates, even if the latter get more attention from the media and the public. Like several other Florida constitutional amendments on the ballot this November, Amendment 4 deals with property taxes and contains three main components.

First, Amendment 4 will create an additional homestead exemption for first-time homebuyers. This exemption will last five years and will slowly phase out as the homebuyeras aSave Our Homesa savings are phasing in.

Second, Amendment 4 will lower the yearly assessment increase cap on nonhomestead property from 10 to 5 percent. Nonhomestead property includes small businesses, vacant land, rental homes, etc.

Finally, this Amendment will provide a way to deal with recapture. Recapture occurs when a homeas value has decreased, but at the same time, the property taxes continue to rise. Amendment 4 will authorize the Florida Legislature to deal with this problem.

Proponents of Amendment 4 say creating an additional homestead exemption and

lowering the assessment cap will bring more qualified buyers back into Floridaas real estate market and allow businesses to reinvest in the economy to create jobs.

Opponents of the amendment believe tax revenue to local governments will be adversely affected at a time when budgets are already struggling.

Florida TaxWatch, a nonpartisan watchdog, conducted a comprehensive study on the long- term effects of Amendment 4. It estimates the amendment would create around 20,000 jobs, increase personal wealth in Florida by $5.3 billion, and boost Floridaas GDP by $1.1 billion. They also estimate that approximately 350,000 additional home sales will occur as a result of Amendment 4. To read the entire Florida TaxWatch study, go to http:// Research.aspx.

Florida voters should give Amendment 4 and other constitutional amendments on this yearas ballot as much scrutiny as they do each candidate.

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MIAMI Association of REALTORSA(R) ac

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