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According to a new poll, property tax reform ranks high among the concerns of Florida residents, along with school choice and health care costs.

This is a bit puzzling.

The median property tax in Florida is $1,773.00 per year for a home worth the median value of $182,400. Florida counties collect an average of 0.97% of a property’s assessed fair market value as property tax each year.

It isn’t clear why so many folks are upset about the property tax, which is the main revenue for the operation of local government.

No one likes any taxes, but Florida, which has no income tax and relies heavily on a sales tax that hits tourists, is ranked 23rd out of the 50 states in the average amount of property taxes collected. Florida is ranked 18th of the 50 states for property taxes as a percentage of median income.

The exact property tax levied depends on the county. Miami-Dade County collects the highest property tax in the state, levying an average of $2,756 yearly in property taxes. Dixie County has the lowest property tax in the state, collecting an average tax of $503 per year.

Nearby St. Johns County politicians are rolling in dough, challenging Dade for the highest property taxes in the state at $2,702 on average.

Duval County residents pay on average $1,500 per year, about in the middle of Florida counties, while Florida is near the middle among states.

The city’s property tax revenues increased from $493.2 million in 2010 to $674.5 million in 2019.

If Florida residents are concerned about property taxes, why did they vote down a proposal to increase the homestead exemption a few years ago?

Legislators apparently are picking up some buzz, however, There are two bills pending, one to increase the homestead exemption and another to increase the discount for paying property taxes early.

As for the popular idea that people are being taxed out of their homes, it appears to be overblown.

Tax liens are issued for non-payment but 98 percent of them eventually are paid. Years ago it was not uncommon for folks to walk away from real estate when they had no income or assets but it is less so today, according to experts.

If the taxes go unpaid, a tax certificate is sold. Eventually the property is auctioned off and the holder of the certificate gets his investment plus interest.

If the purchaser pays more than the tax debt, the homeowner can apply for the surplus.

Older people who have paid off their mortgages and have only low property taxes to pay, in addition to insurance, should not be in danger of losing their homes, absent some calamitous financial setback. One option in such a case is to sell the home and pay the taxes from the proceeds of the sale.

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Lloyd was born in Jacksonville. Graduated from the University of North Florida. He spent nearly 50 years of his life in the newspaper business …beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor for Florida Times Union. He has also been published in a number of national newspapers and magazines, as well as Internet sites. Married with children. Military Vet. Retired. Man of few words but the words are researched well, deeply considered and thoughtfully written.

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