Article Courtesy of The Miami Herald
Published June 17, 2007

Florida lawmakers passed two major pieces of legislation Thursday to cut property-tax rates. Here's a look at each:



Effective: 2007-08 budget year, which begins Oct. 1 for cities and counties.

Rollback: Cities and counties must hold taxes to 2006-07 levels, plus a little extra accounting for new construction. Then, based on their tax-and-spend history in the past year, they must reduce tax rates by a set percentage. Miami-Dade County must cut the rates an additional 9 percent for its countywide taxing district, and 5 percent for its unincorporated areas. Broward must cut 5 percent; Monroe, 3; Hialeah, 5; Fort Lauderdale, 7, and Miami, 9.

Special taxing districts: Must roll back, then cut an additional 3 percent. Fire-rescue districts are in this class.

Revenue cap: Future tax rates are capped by a formula that takes into account the growth in personal income and the amount collected from new construction.

Cap overrides: Local governments may override rollbacks. Depending on the amount, it would require a two-thirds vote or a unanimous vote by local boards. Beyond a certain amount, overrides need voters' approval.

Sanctions: Cities and counties that fail to comply with the revenue caps will forfeit a half-penny in sales tax revenue that they now receive from state government.

Average savings: $174 for homesteaded homeowners, $199 for nonhomestead residential, $941 for commercial and industrial property owners and $92 off tangible personal property taxes charged primarily to business owners.

Public schools: Exempt from the mandated tax cuts and spending caps.

Estimated total savings statewide: $15.6 billion over five years.



Date of vote: Jan. 29, 2008.

Needed for approval: 60 percent of the vote.

Effective: 2008-09 budget year for cities and counties, starting Oct. 1, 2008.

Homestead exemption: Would create a super-exemption for homesteads: 75 percent of the first $200,000 of a home's value, 15 percent for the next $300,000 in value, with a minimum $50,000 exemption per homestead. Low-income seniors would qualify for a minimum exemption of $100,000.

Homeowner choice: Homeowners would be allowed to keep the $25,000 homestead exemption and the 3 percent cap on yearly assessment increases now guaranteed by Save Our Homes instead of the new super-exemption.

Tangible personal property: Businesses with up to $25,000 worth of equipment would be exempt from paying tangible personal property taxes, a move that would exempt about one million from filing taxes.

Waterfronts: The Legislature would have the power to grant tax breaks to owners of waterfront property used for commercial fishing or marinas.

Affordable housing: The Legislature would have the power to give future tax breaks to owners of affordable housing.

Public schools: Not exempt from the impact of the proposed tax cuts.

Average savings: $948 for all homeowners, $245 for nonhomestead residential, $1,240 for commercial and industrial property owners, $262 for tangible property tax payers.

Estimated total savings statewide: $9 billion to $16 billion.