Which TaxWatch report do you believe,? That’s the question being asked by the opponents of Amendment 4, who point to a 2010 report in Florida TaxWatch concluding that Amendment 4-style assessment caps result in “fewer jobs” and are an “impediment to a vibrant economy.”
This may come as a surprise to some, since Amendment 4 backers often tout a 2012 report from the very same Florida TaxWatch as reason to support Amendment 4.
“Amendment 4 will mean tax breaks for snowbirds and tax hikes on full-time Florida homeowners,” said John Thomas, Treasurer of Citizens for Local Decision Making. “If you’re looking for proof, look no farther than a 2010 report published by Florida TaxWatch.”
Amendment 4 opponents point to findings in the 2010 report, such as:
“While assessment caps are proffered as a straightforward strategy for reducing tax bills and slowing the shift in tax burdens to residential property, they often result in higher taxes for the homeowners they are intended to assist, and they can cause unpredictable and unanticipated shifts in tax liabilities.”
“Ironically, it is Florida TaxWatch itself that has published one of the most stinging indictments of Amendment 4,” said Cragin Mosteller, Chairman of Citizens for Local Decision Making. “Amendment 4 would shortchange full-time homeowners to pay for tax breaks for snowbirds and severely damage Florida’s economy.”
The 2010 TaxWatch report is not just a general indictment of Amendment 4. On the contrary, it specifically attacks the 5 percent assessment cap, which is at the heart of Amendment 4, concluding, “Given Florida’s historical reliance on real estate development and transactional activity for economic development, the five-percent cap could be the harbinger of Florida’s economic demise.”