I guess when Governor Charlie Crist said in 2007, that he wanted taxes to “drop like a rock”, he was not kidding! Florida property taxes dropped by $2.28 billion, or 7.5 percent, over the past three years because of tax-cutting measures approved by the Legislature and voters!
What initially prompted the tax cut was that the overall property tax collections nearly doubled from 2000 through 2006, triggering an outcry from taxpayers that resulted in the tax-cutting measures that started in 2007. Later that year a law was passed to roll back and cap property taxes and then put a constitutional amendment on the January 2008 ballot that voters adopted for additional tax savings.
One reason property taxes haven’t dropped even more is because of the Save Our Homes Amendment adopted during the 1990s. The amendment limits annual assessment increases to no more than 3 percent when values are going up. The rule, though, increases assessments by up to 3 percent if values go down.
So, what percentage of the tax deduction is due to the new law, and what percentage is due to the depressed real estate market? Officials don’t know. However taxable values for school purposes had declined under 1%, which may suggest that the new law and amendment are mostly responsible.
Skeptics may blame a depressed market, but Governor Crist is not disappointed. Crist spokesman Sterling Ivey said, “Any reduction in property tax is good news,” Ivey said. “There’s more money in people’s pockets. That’s the bottom line.”