REDINGTON BEACH – State politics became local when the Redington Beach Town Commission at its Oct. 2 meeting agreed to draw up a consensus that gives a general thumbs down to Amendment 4, a proposal sponsored by the State Legislature, that will appear on the general election ballot in November.
The Town Commission went on the record with a unanimous consensus Oct. 2, giving thumbs down to Amendment 4, a Florida Constitution proposal sponsored by the Florida Legislature.
Should the referendum pass, Redington Beach could see a loss of almost $4 million in total taxable revenue, according to the figures provided by the Pinellas County Property Appraiser in its assessment of the potential impact Amendment 4 would have on local communities.
In short, Amendment 4, which if passed would become part of the state’s Constitution, confers hefty tax breaks on first-time homeowners, those who own second homes or rentals and real-estate developers. This would mean a loss of thousands of dollars a year for local governments.
“We’ve all received literature saying Amendment 4 is a good thing for lots of people. Far be it from us to tell our residents how to vote, but we certainly have a responsibility to let the residents of the town know what the impact will be on Redington Beach,” said Mayor Nick Simons. “If Amendment 4 passes, the overall taxable values in Redington Beach will go down. Thus, how do we replace that revenue? We won’t know that direct impact until the amendment passes and gets to our budget cycle for the following year.”
The Florida Association of Counties estimates the proposal would remove about $1.7 billion local revenue sources across the state.
“Unfair, unbalanced and unworkable” is how the Florida League of Cities sums up the measure. The group argues that full-time residents would end up shouldering the burden of paying for public services. The League also claims that should the proposal become law, new or growing businesses would be taxed at a higher rate while more established ventures would end up paying less in their property taxes.
In addition to favoring certain groups of others, the amendment would complicate the tax system, according to the FLC.
Not everyone sees adverse consequences, however, including the Florida Realtors, a trade group made up of 115,000 members. The organization is one of the major backers of the amendment in the belief it will spur home sales. Also pushing for the measure is Florida TaxWatch, a private, nonprofit research organization dealing with issues of taxing and spending, claims the amendment would, over a 10-year period, create around 20,000 jobs.