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Study would be first step toward phasing out Florida property taxes


(The Center Square) – Elimination of Florida property taxes and replacing it with a consumption tax is being proposed in the House of Representatives.

Rep. Ryan Chamberlin, R-Marion, wants a study of how to phase out property taxes, which generated $25 billion last year.

“This is the beginning step,” Chamberlin told The Center Square, speaking of House Bill 1371. “It may take a few years. We’re going to come back and put some serious meat on it in its next phase.”

Having a study completed will give lawmakers a factual basis for moving forward with a phase out of property taxes in the future, the legislator said.

“We’re bringing all the data to the table,” he said. “It’s step one of the plan. We’re not trying to do away with the funding. We’re just trying to do it a smarter way.”

The bill calls for the study to be completed by February 2025.

With property taxes, you never really fully own your property, Chamberlin said. Even when the mortgage is paid in full, property owners still face an annual tax bill.

“We never own your property and we are paying taxes on unrealized gains,” Chamberlin said. “If you buy a piece of property for $100,000 and the property appraiser says it’s now worth a million, even though you’ve never sold it or put that $900,000 in the bank, you are paying taxes on it annually.”

The bill calls for the state’s Office of Policy Analysis and Government Accountability.

“A consumption tax seems to be the fairest tax,” Chamberlin said. “It takes into consideration all the people who travel to Florida and purchase things. It seems to be a solution, but I am not opposed to some other creative ideas. I think it’s time to do it.”

Under Florida law, the state is prohibited from charging property taxes, according to a summary of the bill. But counties, municipalities, school districts, and some special districts may impose property taxes based on the value of the property, the summary says.

Florida has no income tax. Sales tax is 6%.