|Published:||Oct 05, 2012 6:02 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Oct 05, 2012 6:43 PM EDT|
FORT MYERS, Fla. - Your vote this November could dramatically help boost Florida real estate sales. Realtors are taking notice by shelling out millions to influence your vote.
Every Friday until Election Day WINK News Call For Action will be following the money behind the measures.
While the Presidential election is garnering the most attention, Florida voters will also decide on 11 constitutional amendments. And the amendment with the most money behind it is Amendment 4, which alters the way property taxes are collected.
If passed, the amendment would save money for first-time home buyers by offering a tax break amounting to half the value of the house. It wold also cut taxes for homeowners who lose value on their homes.
But state economists say it would slash nearly $1.2 billion from local governments that rely on property taxes.
Any of this sound familiar? There's a real chance you haven't heard of Amendment 4 yet. That's because advertising has been limited. But give it time.
"In the last two weeks of the campaign you'll see a lot of promotion, a lot of advertisement for a lot of the issues," said Dr. David Bergerson, a Professor of Public Affairs at Florida Gulf Coast University.
When you follow the money in this race, it's pretty lopsided. Realtors are spending big bucks to support the proposed amendment. According to Voter's Edge Florida, which tracks the money behind all 11 Florida ballot initiatives, the Florida Association of Realtors has raised more than three million dollars, with another half a million coming in from the National Association of Realtors.
The statewide organization says Amendment 4 would "create jobs, grow Florida's Gross Domestic Product and increase Floridians' personal income."
On the other side, we couldn't find any money that has been raised to oppose the measure. But the League of Women Voters has come out strongly against it, and all the amendments for that matter, saying it would require deep cuts to local services, while giving tax breaks to out-of-state buyers.
"Once the people become educated, they're more likely to vote no, because the amendments on the ballot are so problematic this year," said Jessica Lowe-Minor of the league.