Florida Senate - 2020                                   SJR 1076
       By Senator Wright
       14-01266A-20                                          20201076__
    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 for
    5         the carryover of the homestead property tax discount
    6         for certain veterans with permanent combat-related
    7         disabilities to a veteran’s surviving spouse if
    8         certain criteria are met, to authorize the transfer of
    9         the discount to a surviving spouse’s new homestead
   10         property if certain criteria are met, and to provide
   11         an effective date.
   13  Be It Resolved by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   15         That the following amendment to Section 6 of Article VII
   16  and the creation of a new section in Article XII of the State
   17  Constitution are agreed to and shall be submitted to the
   18  electors of this state for approval or rejection at the next
   19  general election or at an earlier special election specifically
   20  authorized by law for that purpose:
   21                             ARTICLE VII                           
   22                        FINANCE AND TAXATION                       
   23         SECTION 6. Homestead exemptions.—
   24         (a) Every person who has the legal or equitable title to
   25  real estate and maintains thereon the permanent residence of the
   26  owner, or another legally or naturally dependent upon the owner,
   27  shall be exempt from taxation thereon, except assessments for
   28  special benefits, up to the assessed valuation of twenty-five
   29  thousand dollars and, for all levies other than school district
   30  levies, on the assessed valuation greater than fifty thousand
   31  dollars and up to seventy-five thousand dollars, upon
   32  establishment of right thereto in the manner prescribed by law.
   33  The real estate may be held by legal or equitable title, by the
   34  entireties, jointly, in common, as a condominium, or indirectly
   35  by stock ownership or membership representing the owner’s or
   36  member’s proprietary interest in a corporation owning a fee or a
   37  leasehold initially in excess of ninety-eight years. The
   38  exemption shall not apply with respect to any assessment roll
   39  until such roll is first determined to be in compliance with the
   40  provisions of section 4 by a state agency designated by general
   41  law. This exemption is repealed on the effective date of any
   42  amendment to this Article which provides for the assessment of
   43  homestead property at less than just value.
   44         (b) Not more than one exemption shall be allowed any
   45  individual or family unit or with respect to any residential
   46  unit. No exemption shall exceed the value of the real estate
   47  assessable to the owner or, in case of ownership through stock
   48  or membership in a corporation, the value of the proportion
   49  which the interest in the corporation bears to the assessed
   50  value of the property.
   51         (c) By general law and subject to conditions specified
   52  therein, the Legislature may provide to renters, who are
   53  permanent residents, ad valorem tax relief on all ad valorem tax
   54  levies. Such ad valorem tax relief shall be in the form and
   55  amount established by general law.
   56         (d) The legislature may, by general law, allow counties or
   57  municipalities, for the purpose of their respective tax levies
   58  and subject to the provisions of general law, to grant either or
   59  both of the following additional homestead tax exemptions:
   60         (1) An exemption not exceeding fifty thousand dollars to a
   61  person who has the legal or equitable title to real estate and
   62  maintains thereon the permanent residence of the owner, who has
   63  attained age sixty-five, and whose household income, as defined
   64  by general law, does not exceed twenty thousand dollars; or
   65         (2) An exemption equal to the assessed value of the
   66  property to a person who has the legal or equitable title to
   67  real estate with a just value less than two hundred and fifty
   68  thousand dollars, as determined in the first tax year that the
   69  owner applies and is eligible for the exemption, and who has
   70  maintained thereon the permanent residence of the owner for not
   71  less than twenty-five years, who has attained age sixty-five,
   72  and whose household income does not exceed the income limitation
   73  prescribed in paragraph (1).
   75  The general law must allow counties and municipalities to grant
   76  these additional exemptions, within the limits prescribed in
   77  this subsection, by ordinance adopted in the manner prescribed
   78  by general law, and must provide for the periodic adjustment of
   79  the income limitation prescribed in this subsection for changes
   80  in the cost of living.
   81         (e)(1) Each veteran who is age 65 or older who is partially
   82  or totally permanently disabled shall receive a discount from
   83  the amount of the ad valorem tax otherwise owed on homestead
   84  property the veteran owns and resides in if the disability was
   85  combat related and the veteran was honorably discharged upon
   86  separation from military service. The discount shall be in a
   87  percentage equal to the percentage of the veteran’s permanent,
   88  service-connected disability as determined by the United States
   89  Department of Veterans Affairs. To qualify for the discount
   90  granted by this paragraph subsection, an applicant must submit
   91  to the county property appraiser, by March 1, an official letter
   92  from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs stating
   93  the percentage of the veteran’s service-connected disability and
   94  such evidence that reasonably identifies the disability as
   95  combat related and a copy of the veteran’s honorable discharge.
   96  If the property appraiser denies the request for a discount, the
   97  appraiser must notify the applicant in writing of the reasons
   98  for the denial, and the veteran may reapply. The Legislature
   99  may, by general law, waive the annual application requirement in
  100  subsequent years.
  101         (2)If a veteran who receives the discount described in
  102  paragraph (1) predeceases his or her spouse, and if, upon the
  103  death of the veteran, the surviving spouse holds the legal or
  104  beneficial title to the homestead property and permanently
  105  resides thereon, the discount carries over to the surviving
  106  spouse until he or she remarries or sells or otherwise disposes
  107  of the homestead property. If the surviving spouse sells or
  108  otherwise disposes of the property, a discount not to exceed the
  109  dollar amount granted from the most recent ad valorem tax roll
  110  may be transferred to the surviving spouse’s new homestead
  111  property, if used as his or her permanent residence and he or
  112  she has not remarried.
  113         (3) This subsection is self-executing and does not require
  114  implementing legislation.
  115         (f) By general law and subject to conditions and
  116  limitations specified therein, the Legislature may provide ad
  117  valorem tax relief equal to the total amount or a portion of the
  118  ad valorem tax otherwise owed on homestead property to:
  119         (1) The surviving spouse of a veteran who died from
  120  service-connected causes while on active duty as a member of the
  121  United States Armed Forces.
  122         (2) The surviving spouse of a first responder who died in
  123  the line of duty.
  124         (3) A first responder who is totally and permanently
  125  disabled as a result of an injury or injuries sustained in the
  126  line of duty. Causal connection between a disability and service
  127  in the line of duty shall not be presumed but must be determined
  128  as provided by general law. For purposes of this paragraph, the
  129  term “disability” does not include a chronic condition or
  130  chronic disease, unless the injury sustained in the line of duty
  131  was the sole cause of the chronic condition or chronic disease.
  133  As used in this subsection and as further defined by general
  134  law, the term “first responder” means a law enforcement officer,
  135  a correctional officer, a firefighter, an emergency medical
  136  technician, or a paramedic, and the term “in the line of duty”
  137  means arising out of and in the actual performance of duty
  138  required by employment as a first responder.
  139                             ARTICLE XII                           
  140                              SCHEDULE                             
  141         Ad valorem tax discount for surviving spouses of certain
  142  permanently disabled veterans.—The amendment to Section 6 of
  143  Article VII, relating to the ad valorem tax discount for spouses
  144  of certain deceased veterans who had permanent, combat-related
  145  disabilities, and this section shall take effect January 1,
  146  2021.
  148         BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the following statement be
  149  placed on the ballot:
  150                      CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT                     
  151                       ARTICLE VII, SECTION 6                      
  152                             ARTICLE XII                           
  155  Provides that the homestead property tax discount for certain
  156  veterans with permanent combat-related disabilities carries over
  157  to such veteran’s surviving spouse who holds legal or beneficial
  158  title to, and who permanently resides on, the homestead
  159  property, until he or she remarries or sells or otherwise
  160  disposes of the property. The discount may be transferred to a
  161  new homestead property of the surviving spouse under certain
  162  conditions. The amendment takes effect January 1, 2021.