THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA: Supreme Court Upholds Save Our Homes

May 24, 2010

The News Service of Florida published the breaking news below on the Florida Supreme Court’s rejection of a challege to the State’s “Save Our Homes” property tax program.

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THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, MAY 24, 2010…..The Florida Supreme Court on Monday rejected a challenge to the popular “Save our Homes” program that offers tax breaks to year-round Florida homeowners.

The 1992 “Save Our Homes” amendment limited property tax assessment increases on Florida homesteaded properties to try to protect homeowners from skyrocketing land values that were driving up taxes during the boom 1990s. But not covered by the tax break are houses owned by seasonal residents.

The constitutional amendment angered many seasonal residents, though, and some filed suit.
The court Monday denied an appeal in the case of Robert Bruner etc. et al. vs. Bert Hartsfield, etc. where four Florida homeowners argued that the law provided an unfair advantage to people who lived in Florida for a longer period of time. The law created classes of Florida citizens, the group argued, resulting in “discrimination against newly-arrived citizens.”

The court also said it will not entertain a rehearing on the matter.

The 1st District Court of Appeal has upheld the “Save Our Homes” law in two other cases and it seems unlikely that the Supreme Court will strike the law down after its rejection of this case. The program capped property tax increases at 3 percent, or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower. The amendment, which took effect in 1995, passed with 54 percent of the vote in 1992.

The appeals court, when it initially ruled in the Bruner case, wrote that it had already considered the matter in the Reinish v. Clark and Lanning v. Pilcher and ruled that “Save Our Homes” was in fact constitutional and affirmed a lower court decision upholding the program.



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