According to a recent study by the independent research institute Florida TaxWatch, Florida faces a $700 million tax increase if Amendment 2 fails, with a large majority of that tax burden falling on small businesses.
Amendment 2 seeks to preserve the 10 percent cap on annual increases of non-homestead property taxes that has been in place for the last 10 years. Non-homestead properties are properties that do not serve as a person’s primary residence, such as commercial properties occupied by small businesses.
“There is a local coffee shop I like to visit every morning before I start my work day,” says Brian Sharpe, vice president of Sharpe Properties. “They make a mean cup of coffee and their prices are reasonable, but they didn’t exist a decade ago prior to the non-homestead cap. I shudder to think how they would fare back then when their property taxes would have been erratic and 50 percent tax increases were not uncommon.”
Prior to the 10 percent cap, non-homestead property taxes were rising at uncontrollable rates. For example, according to data contained in a Revenue Estimating Conference analysis conducted in 2011, 30 percent of all non-homestead properties were hit with an 80 percent or more tax increase from 2005 to 2006. This means a $300,000 property could have been valued and taxed at $540,000 or more from one year to the next. Seventy-five percent of non-homestead properties saw an increase of over 10 percent those years.
“If you don’t own a non-homestead property I can see how easy it would be to dismiss this amendment, but that would be a big mistake,” adds Sharpe. “If we do not vote YES on Amendment 2, then those visits to the coffee shop are going to get a lot more expensive. So is grocery shopping, eating out, getting a haircut, the list is endless. These small businesses cannot absorb huge tax increases, so those costs are going to get passed on to all of us.”
Small businesses account for 99.8 percent of all businesses in Florida and employ nearly 3.2 million Floridians. They create jobs and reinvest in their communities, making them critical to the well-being of Florida’s economy.
To help protect small businesses and avoid the looming $700 million tax increase, Florida Realtors® developed a tool kit filled with various images, social media content, videos and news media templates that Realtors can share with their family, friends, clients, colleagues and social media networks.
Realtors are encouraged to use the tool kit resources through early November to help educate voters in advance of the Nov, 6, 2018, general election.
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