By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
Voters statewide have passed the tax reform amendment that will double the homestead exemption and allow homesteaded homeowners to transfer their exemption to the new homes after they sell their old ones. It is expected to have an affect on the property taxes county and city governments collect and most of them will have to cut next year’s budgets. The cuts won’t have an effect on property taxes that are collected for school districts, however.
The vote statewide was 64 percent for the amendment to 36 against. Locally, it passed by a smaller margin in Manatee County, 62 to 38 percent. At least 60 percent of the vote had to be in favor of the amendment for it to pass.
The amendment was put together by lawmakers last year in response to statewide complaints of runaway property taxes brought on by rapidly appreciating home values. It did not address the problems that business owners face on their business property. Citizens Against Runaway Taxation (CART), an organization formed on Anna Maria Island to address the tax problem, did not endorse the amendment because of that. CART director Don Schroder said he prefers a 1.35 percent cap on taxable value increases for all property and he said he would continue to push for that change.