Voters Approve Tax Breaks for Vets, Widows and Seniors

Disabled veterans, low income seniors and the spouses of police officers killed in the line of duty will see their property taxes go down next year.

“We’re grateful to the citizens of Florida for supporting that amendment,” said Matt Puckett.

Matt Puckett with the Police Benevolent Association campaigned for Amendment nine, the ballot question giving spouses of police killed in the line of duty a tax break. “It’s certainly an added benefit to them. It takes a burden off a struggling family.”

The constitutional amendment is expected to cost county and city government’s 600,000 dollars next year. Combined with tax cuts for disabled vets and seniors, local governments will lose 12 million dollars.

Spread over Florida’s 67 counties and compared to the billions of dollars local governments spend every year, the money will hardly be noticed. But there was one amendment on the ballot that would have hit local governments a lot harder.

“I think Florida dodged a bullet,” Cragin Mosteller.

Amendment four would have capped property tax increases and given first time home owners relief. The Florida Association of Counties says it also would have devastated local governments.

“A 1.7 billion dollar impact is what this could have had on Florida over four years on our counties and cities,” said Mosteller.

Just three of the 11 amendments on this year’s ballot passed. Political scientists say voters seemed to really understand what they were voting for.

“I thought the voters did a terrific job of really separating the wheat from the chaff,” said Carol Weissert.

All three of the property tax breaks go in to effect on January first.

People who qualify for the tax breaks may have to notify their property appraiser and in some cases fill out an application. Those applications haven’t been created yet, but anyone who thinks they might qualify is being encouraged to call their local property appraiser.

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