ORLANDO, Fla. – When Florida voters go to the polls in November, they might be surprised to see only a handful of constitutional amendments on their ballot. There are only three this year, a big departure from previous elections.
All of the amendments were placed on the ballot by the Florida Legislature. Two of them deal with taxes while one of them deals with abolishing a commission that reviews the constitution. There are no citizen initiatives on the ballot this year.
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For an amendment to pass the ballot, it must get 60% approval from the voters.
Here is what Florida Amendment 1 is about.
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“Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution, effective January 1, 2023, to authorize the Legislature, by general law, to prohibit the consideration of any change or improvement made to real property used for residential purposes to improve the property’s resistance to flood damage in determining the assessed value of such property for ad valorem taxation purposes.”
BREAKING IT DOWN
When you make major changes to a home, those changes can affect the assessed value of your property, causing it to go up or down. There are already provisions in the state constitution that allow the legislature to exempt wind damage property changes, or solar or renewable energy devices, from property assessments. This amendment creates the same exemption for changes that protect property from flood damage.
According to a Florida House staff analysis of the bill, those changes could include individual projects like elevating structures, filling basements in or waterproofing. It could also include maintenance projects like landscaping that allows for stormwater runoff, waterproofing basements, and elevating furnaces, heaters and electrical panels.
It could also include large public works projects like dams, seawalls and levees.
Florida holds over one-third of the flood insurance policies issued by the National Flood Insurance Program, and as climate change causes sea levels to rise, Florida will see more severe flood damage in the coming years from storms.
According to the amendment’s sponsors, the point of the amendment is to incentivize those flooding resiliency changes.
A “YES” vote for this amendment allows the Florida Legislature to pass laws that would exempt flood resistance improvements from being considered in property value assessments. It takes effect Jan. 1, 2023.
A “NO” vote would mean nothing changes and the Florida Legislature cannot pass laws to exempt flood resistance improvements.