Florida Senate - 2019                                    SJR 886
       By Senator Brandes
       24-01624-19                                            2019886__
    1                       Senate Joint Resolution                     
    2         A joint resolution proposing an amendment to Section 6
    3         of Article VII and the creation of a new section in
    4         Article XII of the State Constitution to provide that
    5         the homestead property tax discount for certain
    6         veterans who had permanent, combat-related
    7         disabilities carries over to the benefit of the
    8         veteran’s surviving spouse under certain circumstances
    9         until he or she remarries or sells or otherwise
   10         disposes of the property, to provide that the discount
   11         for the surviving spouse is transferrable to another
   12         homestead under certain circumstances, and to provide
   13         an effective date.
   15  Be It Resolved by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   17         That the following amendment to Section 6 of Article VII
   18  and the creation of a new section in Article XII of the State
   19  Constitution are agreed to and shall be submitted to the
   20  electors of this state for approval or rejection at the next
   21  general election or at an earlier special election specifically
   22  authorized by law for that purpose:
   23                             ARTICLE VII                           
   24                        FINANCE AND TAXATION                       
   25         SECTION 6. Homestead exemptions.—
   26         (a) Every person who has the legal or equitable title to
   27  real estate and maintains thereon the permanent residence of the
   28  owner, or another legally or naturally dependent upon the owner,
   29  shall be exempt from taxation thereon, except assessments for
   30  special benefits, up to the assessed valuation of twenty-five
   31  thousand dollars and, for all levies other than school district
   32  levies, on the assessed valuation greater than fifty thousand
   33  dollars and up to seventy-five thousand dollars, upon
   34  establishment of right thereto in the manner prescribed by law.
   35  The real estate may be held by legal or equitable title, by the
   36  entireties, jointly, in common, as a condominium, or indirectly
   37  by stock ownership or membership representing the owner’s or
   38  member’s proprietary interest in a corporation owning a fee or a
   39  leasehold initially in excess of ninety-eight years. The
   40  exemption shall not apply with respect to any assessment roll
   41  until such roll is first determined to be in compliance with the
   42  provisions of section 4 by a state agency designated by general
   43  law. This exemption is repealed on the effective date of any
   44  amendment to this Article which provides for the assessment of
   45  homestead property at less than just value.
   46         (b) Not more than one exemption shall be allowed any
   47  individual or family unit or with respect to any residential
   48  unit. No exemption shall exceed the value of the real estate
   49  assessable to the owner or, in case of ownership through stock
   50  or membership in a corporation, the value of the proportion
   51  which the interest in the corporation bears to the assessed
   52  value of the property.
   53         (c) By general law and subject to conditions specified
   54  therein, the Legislature may provide to renters, who are
   55  permanent residents, ad valorem tax relief on all ad valorem tax
   56  levies. Such ad valorem tax relief shall be in the form and
   57  amount established by general law.
   58         (d) The legislature may, by general law, allow counties or
   59  municipalities, for the purpose of their respective tax levies
   60  and subject to the provisions of general law, to grant either or
   61  both of the following additional homestead tax exemptions:
   62         (1) An exemption not exceeding fifty thousand dollars to a
   63  person who has the legal or equitable title to real estate and
   64  maintains thereon the permanent residence of the owner, who has
   65  attained age sixty-five, and whose household income, as defined
   66  by general law, does not exceed twenty thousand dollars; or
   67         (2) An exemption equal to the assessed value of the
   68  property to a person who has the legal or equitable title to
   69  real estate with a just value less than two hundred and fifty
   70  thousand dollars, as determined in the first tax year that the
   71  owner applies and is eligible for the exemption, and who has
   72  maintained thereon the permanent residence of the owner for not
   73  less than twenty-five years, who has attained age sixty-five,
   74  and whose household income does not exceed the income limitation
   75  prescribed in paragraph (1).
   77  The general law must allow counties and municipalities to grant
   78  these additional exemptions, within the limits prescribed in
   79  this subsection, by ordinance adopted in the manner prescribed
   80  by general law, and must provide for the periodic adjustment of
   81  the income limitation prescribed in this subsection for changes
   82  in the cost of living.
   83         (e)(1) Each veteran who is age 65 or older who is partially
   84  or totally permanently disabled shall receive a discount from
   85  the amount of the ad valorem tax otherwise owed on homestead
   86  property the veteran owns and resides in if the disability was
   87  combat related and the veteran was honorably discharged upon
   88  separation from military service. The discount shall be in a
   89  percentage equal to the percentage of the veteran’s permanent,
   90  service-connected disability as determined by the United States
   91  Department of Veterans Affairs. To qualify for the discount
   92  granted by this subsection, an applicant must submit to the
   93  county property appraiser, by March 1, an official letter from
   94  the United States Department of Veterans Affairs stating the
   95  percentage of the veteran’s service-connected disability and
   96  such evidence that reasonably identifies the disability as
   97  combat related and a copy of the veteran’s honorable discharge.
   98  If the property appraiser denies the request for a discount, the
   99  appraiser must notify the applicant in writing of the reasons
  100  for the denial, and the veteran may reapply. The Legislature
  101  may, by general law, waive the annual application requirement in
  102  subsequent years. This subsection is self-executing and does not
  103  require implementing legislation.
  104         (2) If a veteran who is receiving the discount described in
  105  paragraph (1) predeceases his or her spouse and if, upon the
  106  death of the veteran, the surviving spouse holds the legal or
  107  beneficial title to the homestead property and permanently
  108  resides thereon, the discount carries over to the benefit of the
  109  surviving spouse until he or she remarries, sells the property,
  110  or otherwise disposes of the property. If the surviving spouse
  111  sells the property, a discount not to exceed the dollar amount
  112  granted from the most recent ad valorem tax roll may be
  113  transferred to the surviving spouse’s new homestead property, if
  114  used as his or her permanent residence and he or she does not
  115  remarry.
  116         (f) By general law and subject to conditions and
  117  limitations specified therein, the Legislature may provide ad
  118  valorem tax relief equal to the total amount or a portion of the
  119  ad valorem tax otherwise owed on homestead property to:
  120         (1) The surviving spouse of a veteran who died from
  121  service-connected causes while on active duty as a member of the
  122  United States Armed Forces.
  123         (2) The surviving spouse of a first responder who died in
  124  the line of duty.
  125         (3) A first responder who is totally and permanently
  126  disabled as a result of an injury or injuries sustained in the
  127  line of duty. Causal connection between a disability and service
  128  in the line of duty shall not be presumed but must be determined
  129  as provided by general law. For purposes of this paragraph, the
  130  term “disability” does not include a chronic condition or
  131  chronic disease, unless the injury sustained in the line of duty
  132  was the sole cause of the chronic condition or chronic disease.
  134  As used in this subsection and as further defined by general
  135  law, the term “first responder” means a law enforcement officer,
  136  a correctional officer, a firefighter, an emergency medical
  137  technician, or a paramedic, and the term “in the line of duty”
  138  means arising out of and in the actual performance of duty
  139  required by employment as a first responder.
  140                             ARTICLE XII                           
  141                              SCHEDULE                             
  142         Ad valorem tax discount for surviving spouses of certain
  143  deceased veterans who had permanent, combat-related
  144  disabilities.—This section and the amendment to Section 6 of
  145  Article VII, providing for the ad valorem tax discount for
  146  certain deceased veterans who had permanent, combat-related
  147  disabilities to carry over to the benefit of their surviving
  148  spouses, shall take effect January 1, 2021.
  149         BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the following statement be
  150  placed on the ballot:
  151                      CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT                     
  152                       ARTICLE VII, SECTION 6                      
  153                             ARTICLE XII                           
  156  Provides that the homestead property tax discount for certain
  157  veterans who had permanent, combat-related disabilities carries
  158  over to the benefit of the veteran’s surviving spouse, if
  159  certain conditions are met, until he or she remarries or sells
  160  or otherwise disposes of the property. If the surviving spouse
  161  sells the property, the discount is transferrable to another
  162  homestead used as a permanent residence if he or she remains
  163  unmarried. This amendment takes effect January 1, 2021.