Published: Feb 09, 2011 9:14 PM EST
Updated: Feb 09, 2011 6:22 PM EST

The author of Save our Homes -- the homestead exemption -- is applauding efforts to repeal the so-called 'recapture rule.'    Lee Co. Property Appraiser Ken Wilkinson says recapture is unfair and should not be allowed to continue.

"It hits people when their values are dropping and requires them to pay more in taxes.  It does not make sense and it has to go," Wilkinson told WINK News.

Recapture is kind of the flip side of Save our Homes.    SOH limits property tax hikes for homes to 3 percent, even if the market goes up much more than that.   During down housing  markets, like the past 3 years or so, recapture requires counties to take back some of the tax dollars they lost during the good times to SOH.

"I opposed recapture from the start.   The state revenue department put it into the law, and there was only one reason for it:  to get more money from the property owners when times are tough.  We did not see the effects until the past few years, when we had the market collapse.   Now more people are seeing the down side of recapture," said Wilkinson.

"I agree, recapture is a surprise.   I do not think it's fair," said homeowner Ron Ripley in Lee County.    He says he was stunned last summer when he opened his tax bill and found:  his property value had dropped, yet his taxes went up.     "It does not make a lot of sense and it could really hurt people on fixed incomes," said Ripley.

A bill to repeal recapture passed a Senate committee on Tuesday.   State lawmakers would like voters to repeal the rule in a referendum.    That might occur in Nov., 2012.