Amendment 2: Veterans Disabled Due to Combat Injury; Homestead Property Tax Discount


Published: Saturday, October 6, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, October 7, 2012 at 12:48 a.m.

A look at the constitutional amendments on the Nov. 6 ballot from the League of Women Voters of Florida Education Fund:

Amendment 2: Veterans Disabled Due to Combat Injury; Homestead Property Tax Discount

Synopsis: relaxes the eligibility requirements for an existing property tax discount offered to disabled veterans. Currently, disabled veterans who meet the following four requirements are eligible for a property tax discount commensurate with the degree of their disability: 1) current Florida resident; 2) 65 or older; 3) disabled in combat; 4) Florida resident when they entered the military. If passed, Amendment 2 would eliminate that fourth eligibility requirement. As an example of how it works, a veteran eligible for the discount with a 50 percent disability can claim 50 percent off the assessed value of his home. Roughly 1,200 veterans received that discount in 2010, allowing them to subtract, on average, $24,000 from their home's value before property taxes were calculated. This proposed amendment would give that same tax break to veterans, age 65 and older, who were disabled in combat but living in another state when they entered the military so long as they now claim Florida residency. The state estimates that if Amendment 2 passes, school districts and local governments would lose a total of $15 million over the first three years..

A vote YES on Amendment 2 would:

- Give the existing homestead tax exemption to disabled veterans who were not Florida residents at the time they entered military service

- Reduce property tax revenue for schools and local government services by an estimated total of $15 million over the first three years

- Expand the property tax exemption for some disabled veterans who are not currently eligible for a similar property tax exemption

A vote NO on Amendment 2 would:

- Not expand the property tax exemption to disabled veterans who were not Florida residents at the time they entered military service

- Not reduce property tax revenue for schools and local government services by an estimated $15 million over three years

- Not place a limitation on state revenue in the Florida Constitution where it would be difficult to modify or remove

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