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On the Ballot: What Do the State Constitutional Amendments Mean?

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Florida - Wednesday November 2, 2022: There are three proposed amendments to the Florida State Constitution on the ballot this election. What do they mean?

1. Limitation on the Assessment of Real Property Used for Residential Purposes - Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution, effective January 1, 2023, to authorize the Legislature, by general law, to prohibit the consideration of any change or improvement made to real property used for residential purposes to improve the property's resistance to flood damage in determining the assessed value of such property officers, correctional officers, for ad valorem taxation purposes.

This amendment has to do with your property taxes. Right now, if you make improvements to your home to protect it against flooding, that increases the value of your property, your assessed value will go up and your property taxes along with it.

A yes vote on this amendment would allow the Legislature to pass a law prohibiting flood resistance improvements from being considered when your property is assessed for tax purposes.

Opponents have said the language is not clear about what home improvements would qualify and that could open the door to abuse.

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2. Abolishing the Constitution Revision Commission - Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to abolish the Constitution Revision Commission, which meets at 20-year intervals and is scheduled to next convene in 2037, as a method of submitting proposed amendments or revisions to the State Constitution to electors of the state for approval. This amendment does not affect the ability to revise or amend the State Constitution through citizen initiative, constitutional convention, the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission, or legislative joint resolution.

The intent is clear, it proposes getting ride of this Commission whose 37 members succeeded in placing 8 state constitutional amendments on the ballot in 2018 when they last met. But why get rid of it?

Supports of this amendment say the Commission is partisan and puts complex ballot questions about multiple issues to the public bypassing the more deliberative legislative process. They seek a yes vote on abolishing it.

However supporters want to keep the Commission intact arguing that its the legislature that's partisan and frequently prevents consideration of of laws favored by the majority of state residents. They support a no vote because the Commission is one of the few ways state residents can get things done that the legislature blocks.

Besides, what's the rush? The Commission won't meet again until 2037.

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3. 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 non-school levies of up to $50,000 of the assessed value of homestead property owned by classroom teachers, law enforcement 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.

This amendment would give critical public service workers, who own a home, an additional homestead property tax exemption.

The Florida Legislature could grant an additional $50,000 in homestead exemptions for teachers, law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, active duty members of the U.S. armed forces and Florida National Guard.

Supporters seek a yes vote saying it's an important way to attract public service employees to come to work in Florida in those critical fields, especially because housing and home insurance prices are already so high. THose who might want to vote no could argue that the price tax is too high, its estimated that it could cost local governments more than $80 million in lost tax revenue.

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