Florida Looks To Abolish Property Taxes

If adopted, the policy would make Florida the first in the nation without a state income or sales tax.

A controversial idea is again gaining ground in the Legislature: eliminating property taxes and replacing them with a new “consumption tax” tacked onto the sales of goods and services across the state.

The change, said Republican Rep. Ryan Chamberlin, would put an end to what some have called “the most hated tax in America.”

“I believe it’s time,” he told members of the House Ways and Means Committee, which voted 15-6 for a measure (HB 1371) Chamberlin is sponsoring to study shifting a huge tax burden from homeowners to consumers.

If passed, the bill would direct the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) to examine the likely impact. A report would be due Feb. 1, 2025.

Chamberlin, a freshman Republican lawmaker from Belleview, offered two reasons property taxes need to go. The first, he said, is that they create an arrangement under which homeowners never truly own their domiciles….

“We all simply rent it from the state, and as long as we pay those rents, then we can use the property we hold a deed for,” he said. “This is not a tax; it is slavery.”

The second reason, he continued, is that property taxes increase regardless of whether a homeowner sells their house because the rate is based on unrealized gains — an arrangement ludicrous in most other scenarios.

“Think about it. If the IRS started charging us a tax not just on your income but what they thought we could have earned, we would have riots in the streets,” he said. “Yet we get a property tax increase every year on most of our properties in Florida not based on any realized gain in our bank account but based on what the gain could be if we decided to sell it.”

Chamberlin said that if Florida adopts the change his bill contemplates, it would “not just be the most prosperous state in the country (but) the most prosperous economy in the world.”..

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