TALLAHASSEE – Governor Charlie Crist today visited homeowners in Miami, Fort Myers, Tampa and a Fort Walton business owner to discuss the opportunity Florida voters have on January 29, 2008, to approve a $12-billion tax cut. Approval will bring Florida’s homeowners and businesses a total savings of $27 billion on property taxes, which includes a $15-billion property tax cut created earlier this year. Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp joined the Governor in Miami and Fort Myers.
“As I talk to citizens around the state about property taxes, they share with me how these tax cuts will benefit their families and their businesses,” said Governor Crist. “I am grateful to the House and Senate leadership – and to both chambers as well – for giving Floridians the opportunity to approve the relief they so desperately need. With a total potential savings of $27 billion on the table, we can all agree that this is a historic tax cut for Florida.”
The new tax cuts, if approved by voters, will include doubling the current homestead exemption and providing relief for businesses and individuals who own more than one home. Additionally, homeowners will be able to transfer up to $500,000 of accumulated Save Our Homes tax benefit to a different homestead. The property tax cuts would be effective January 1, 2008, and will apply to homeowners who moved in 2007.
Stephanie Fay purchased her townhouse in Miami two years ago and was surprised when her property tax and insurance bills doubled during the second year. As a teacher and single mother of two, Stephanie was worried that she would no longer be able to afford her home. She had already begun looking for another place to live when she wrote Governor Crist earlier this year to express her concern. With the approval of the new property-tax cut, Stephanie would benefit from the double homestead exemption. In addition, if she decides to sell her home, Stephanie will be able to take her Save Our Homes tax savings with her.
Mike Randolph and his wife have lived in their Fort Myers home for 10 years and have been thinking about moving for almost a year. Despite having found several houses they are interested in, they have been reluctant to move because their taxes would more than quadruple. With the flexibility to transfer the Save Our Homes tax savings, the Randolphs would be able to move into a bigger home without taking on a larger tax burden.
Stanley Fields bought his house 14 years ago. He and his wife, Chantel, are now the parents of twins who will celebrate their first birthday in a few weeks. With a two-bedroom, one-bathroom house, the Fields would like to upgrade to a larger home to accommodate their growing family. After looking at their options, they realized that even a modest upgrade to another home would be more than they could afford. Now, with the ability to transfer the Save Our Homes tax savings to another residence, Stanley and Chantel will be able to move into a home that better suits their needs.
Tony Bigot has owned his Fort Walton-based transmission business for 22 years. In recent years, he has felt the burden of property taxes more than ever. Now, with the 10 percent cap on property tax increases for business properties, Tony can anticipate the amount his taxes may go up each year. As a small business owner, he will also benefit from the $25,000 exemption for tangible personal property.
“Governor Crist has been a strong leader for property tax reform for Floridians since before becoming Governor of Florida,” said Lt. Governor Kottkamp. “I am proud to stand with him today to announce that property-tax relief is coming for Florida’s homeowners and businesses.”
GOVERNOR’S PRESS OFFICE