Lawmakers Introduce Proposal to Double Tax Breaks for Frontline Workers – Action News Jax

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. —

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO KNOW:

  • The exemption applies to teachers, law enforcement, correctional officers, firefighters, child protective service professionals, active duty military, and members of the National Guard.
  • Average savings are estimated at $540 per year.
  • 60% of Florida voters are expected to approve.

Lawmakers are moving forward with a proposed constitutional amendment that would double property tax savings for most teachers, first responders and the military.

The joint resolution passed its second House committee on Monday afternoon.

Professions that would be covered by the exemption include teachers, law enforcement, prison officers, child protection service providers, active duty military and members of the National Guard.

“None of us joined these careers to make a lot of money. That’s not why we signed up. We did it because we are passionate about our country,” Kevin said. Ortega, the US Navy petty officer first class.

Ortega told us that the estimated $540 property tax savings that the proposed constitutional amendment would provide each year couldn’t come soon enough.

“Having that tax relief would definitely help pick up where I fall in other things like gas and food and things like that continue to grow,” Ortega said.

The proposal faced opposition from the Florida Association of Counties in its second House committee hearing on Monday.

The counties argue that only two-thirds of those on the occupations list will actually benefit and the other third could actually see costs rise.

“And that is even transferred to some within those same professions who benefit from the exemption, because if these professionals rent, not only do they not benefit from this exemption, but they will face a higher share of the burden of those who are exempt,” said Bob McKee of the Florida Counties Association.

But Florida TaxWatch endorses the proposal, arguing that the benefits outweigh the costs.

“It really applies to the men and women who have been real heroes, period, but especially during this great pandemic,” said Dominic Calabro, president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch.

Florida voters will have the final say in the November ballot.

It would require the approval of 60% of voters to pass.

Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 530 President Randy Reaves encourages voters to vote on the measure.

“Even though it’s little money, I think it sends a message to those who work here every day that the community has your back,” Reaves said.

The joint resolution still has a few hurdles to clear in the Legislative Assembly before it can secure a place in the November ballot.

His passage, however, is beyond doubt.

It has been awarded HB 1 in the House, a designation that indicates it is a top leadership priority.

Penny D. Jackson