Amendment 9: Homestead ... Exemption for Surviving Spouse of Military Veteran ...
Published: Saturday, October 6, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, October 7, 2012 at 1:04 a.m.
A look at the constitutional amendments on the Nov. 6 ballot from the League of Women Voters of Florida Education Fund:
Amendment 9: Homestead Property Tax Exemption for Surviving Spouse of Military Veteran or First Responder
Synopsis: grants full homestead property tax relief to the surviving spouses of military veterans who die from service-connected causes while on active duty, and to the surviving spouses of police, firefighters and other first responders who die in the line of duty. In short, the surviving spouses deemed eligible will not pay any property taxes. For a spouse to be eligible, the deceased veteran or first responder must have been a permanent resident of Florida as of Jan. 1 of the year he or she died. That same residency requirement applies to the surviving spouses of first responders. First responders are defined as law enforcement officers, correctional officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and paramedics. The proposed amendment covers full-time, part-time or volunteer first responders. State law has granted full homestead property tax relief to surviving military spouses since 1997. This proposed amendment enshrines that exemption in the state Constitution while adding eligibility to the spouses of first responders. Surviving spouses of veterans or first responders who died years ago can apply for eligibility retroactively if Amendment 9 passes, although the tax relief is for future taxes only; they will not receive refunds for any past taxes paid. The state estimates that this amendment, if passed, would reduce local school and government tax revenues by about $600,000 statewide in the first year it is in effect.
A vote YES on Amendment 9 would:
- Grant full homestead property tax relief to the surviving spouses of first responders who die in the line of duty
- Enshrine in the state Constitution a law that currently offers full property tax relief to surviving spouses of veterans who die while on active duty
- Allow spouses whose partners died before the passage of the Amendment to be eligible for the tax exemption
A vote NO on Amendment 9 would:
- Maintain existing property tax exemptions
- Prevent local governments from losing a combined $600,000 in estimated property tax revenues over the course of a year
- Not place a limitation on local government revenue in the Florida Constitution where it would be difficult to modify or remove
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