We continue our series coverage of one amendment each day and today we focus on Amendment 10 to the Florida Constitution. If you are not already a subscriber to this column, you want to so as to stay informed of important election information. Amendment 10 would increase the tangible personal property exemption for businesses from $25,000 to $50,000. Most Florida businesses are small businesses and this could help their bottom line by reducing their tax bill enabling them to use that money to build their business by adding employees, reinvesting in equipment and increasing the pay of employees. Tangible personal property includes things businesses use such as machinery, office equipment, computers, furniture and the like.
Amendment 10 reads as follows:
“Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to:
(1)Provide an exemption from ad valorem taxes levied by counties, municipalities, school districts, and other local governments on tangible personal property if the assessed value of an owner’s tangible personal property is greater than $25,000 but less than $50,000. This new exemption, if approved by the voters, will take effect on January 1, 2013, and apply to the 2013 tax roll and subsequent tax rolls.
(2) Authorize a county or municipality for the purpose of its respective levy, and as provided by general law, to provide tangible personal property tax exemptions by ordinance.
This is in addition to other statewide tangible personal property tax exemptions provided by the Constitution and this amendment.”
As we have noted before in covering similar amendments there are many in Florida who do not favor putting tax policy into the Florida Constitution, even if they may agree with the increased exemption. That said, most Florida libertarians are in agreement with this amendment and are favoring its passage.
The Libertarian Party of Florida issues this statement in support of Amendment 10:
“While ad valorem taxes should be completely eliminated, increasing the exemption from $25,000 to $50,000 is at least a step in the right direction. The exemption increase will help many Florida small business owners. Since ad valorem taxes apply to all business who have tangible property, raising the cap does not single out any specific group of business owners. It applies equally to all.”
The libertarian-minded Tallahassee think tank, The James Madison Institute issues this statement in favor of its passage:
Of all the constitutional amendments tinkering with Florida’s tax structure, this is the one most likely to result in collateral economic
benefits for persons other than the direct recipients of this tax break.
Small businesses are the most important generators of jobs in the U.S.
economy. At present, businesses must pay a property tax on their tangible property, down to and including items such as office furniture, computers,and copiers, with only the first$25,000 of value tax exempt. Amendment10 would exempt the value of tangible property up to $50,000.Not only would this spare businesses— especially small ones — a cost, but also the major hassle involved in calculating the values of ordinary business equipment, which tends to be subject to depreciation and other factors making such calculations much more complex than, say, calculating the value of real estate, where appraiser scan more easily examine the prices paid for comparable properties.