Budgets of Florida cities, counties, school districts, and special districts are feeling the sluggish economy, as well as the affect of tax reforms imposed by the Legislature and voters, but more pain may lie ahead if voters approve a 1.35% property tax cap in the November election.

The state Supreme Court is reviewing a proposed constitutional amendment that would limit the amount of property taxes that could be collected from any parcel of property to 1.35% of the property’s highest taxable value.

“The amendment will reduce annual total school, county, municipal, and special district property tax revenues by at least $6 billion, or 17%,” said a recent analysis of the proposed amendment by the Financial Impact Estimating Conference.

The financial impact statement goes on to say that implementation of the tax cap “will likely produce greater reductions” that cannot be determined. That’s because if the amendment passes, the Legislature must decide how the tax cap applies to local governments. Lawmakers could order the resulting tax cut to apply equally among the local governments and school districts or use a different formula.

The high court is required by Florida law to review the proposed amendment and the accompanying financial impact statement to determine if they are worded properly. If the wording is ruled improper, the court has the power to strike the referendum from the ballot.

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