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Better understand amendments on your general election ballot

AMENDMENT 5

Homeowners could soon have more money in their pockets. Florida voters will decide next month if the Save Our Homes property tax break will be extended by a year. It allows people to sell their homes, rent for a while and find or build a new home.

We looked at Amendment 5 and why it seems everyone is on board.

Amendment 5 would give homeowners three years to transfer Save Our Homes benefits. Floridians have two years currently.

Save Our Homes benefits range from $25,000 to $50,000 in homestead property tax exemptions.

What that means: If you’re in a home for a number of years, “Save our homes” limits the increase in how much your property taxes can go up.

For example, if you buy a home for $225,000, you’ll only be taxed for $200,000.

If you buy a new home, Amendment 5 gives you three years to transfer those benefits to your new home.

The upside: The deadline to apply is Jan. 1. So, if you buy a new home in December, when the calendar turns over to January, that counts as one year.

“As a potential buyer in the market, having a longer window will allow you to make a more informed decision,” said FGCU economist Shelton Weeks said. “And making the wrong decision will expose you to significant transaction costs if you then have to sell that home.”

The downside: The League of Women Voters of Florida says Amendment 5 could reduce tax revenue for schools funding, police, fire and infrastructure.

“It may limit some of the tax collections,” Weeks said. “However, when we think about save our homes, the benefits probably outweigh the costs.”

Voters who like the extension, vote yes. Those who do not, vote no.

AMENDMENT 2

In November, you’ll get to vote on whether you want the minimum wage to go up to $15 dollars an hour. There would be a gradual increase within the next six years if passed.

Minimum wage in Florida is currently $8.46.

If passed, the minimum wage would bump up to $10 in 2021 and increase one dollar a year until it reaches $15 dollars in 2026.

Those in favor of this amendment say people have to work multiple jobs in order to make ends meet. People won’t have to decide which bills they can afford this month.

“Current minimum wage is almost impossible to live on,” said Patti Brigham, the president of the League of Women Voters of Florida.” Even once this is raised, it’s going to be extremely difficult to live on it, but it’s better than what we have.”

Those against Amendment 2 – such as service industry employers — say they would simply cut hours of many workers and fire others to make ends meet.

In uncertain times, Weeks believes it’s better for the market to work itself out.

“If you just think back to fall of 2019, if you were an employer advertising a job with minimum wage, you weren’t getting any applicants,” FGCU economist Shelton Weeks said. “Virtually everyone was paying well above minimum wage just to get people to come through the door. That’s an example of the market working to solve the potential problem.”

To raise the minimum wage, vote yes on Amendment 2.

Those against it, vote no.

Reporter:Morgan Rynor
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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