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Proposed Amendment Would Help Hometown Heroes

Florida Realtors will back a proposed state constitutional amendment that gives front-line workers, such as police and teachers, a property tax break.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Realtors® announced it would support a proposed constitutional amendment – HJR 1/SJR 1746, reinforcing its commitment to make housing more affordable for some of Florida’s most dedicated workers.

The proposed constitutional amendment grants an additional homestead exemption for teachers, firefighters, law enforcement officers and other Floridians who have selflessly helped the state’s residents throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. If approved by the Florida Legislature, the measure would go on the general election ballot as a proposed constitutional amendment.

“For decades, Florida Realtors and its more than 225,000 members have been vocal advocates for affordable housing,” says Florida Realtors President Christina Pappas. “Our state owes so much to the dedicated men and women who have done so much for us. HJR 1 and SJR 1746 will help by providing much-needed property tax relief to hometown heroes in our state.”

In light of escalating housing costs, Florida Realtors has also supported the creation of a Florida Hometown Hero Housing Program (SB 788). If approved by the Florida Legislature and signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, it would offer zero-interest loans and help with down payments and closing costs for essential professions including nurses, firefighters, teachers and law enforcement.

Pappas commended Florida House and Senate leadership for proposing HJR 1/SJR 1746, which would help many hometown heroes who already own a home.

“HJR 1/SJR 1746 and SB 788 pair perfectly together and make a compelling statement to the men and women who serve our state, our communities and our country that we support them. We want to make sure they have a chance of achieving the American dream of homeownership,” says Pappas.

HJR 1, sponsored by Rep. Josie Tomkow and the Ways & Means Committee, and SJR 1746, sponsored by Sen. Jason Brodeur and the Finance and Tax Committee, would increase the homestead exemption on non-school levies for property owned by teachers, law enforcement officers, correctional officers, firefighters, child welfare services professionals, active-duty members of the U.S. military and members of the Florida National Guard.

According to Florida Realtors data, the median sale price of a Florida home was just under $374,000 at the end of last year – 21% higher than just one year earlier and 47% higher in just three years. The average salary in many of the targeted occupations is less than what would be required to afford such a home.

“These dedicated hometown heroes have served Floridians non-stop through the pandemic,” Pappas says. “However, amid skyrocketing housing costs, many find that they can’t afford to live in the communities they serve. Our goal is to make homeownership more affordable for them, and we look forward to working with lawmakers to give these workers a helping hand.”

© 2022 Florida Realtors®