Let one try to get this straight. What is a property tax exemption in Florida? More precisely, what is an economic development ad valorem tax exemption in Florida? Getting confused? The following quote is from the Florida Statutes.
TAXATION AND FINANCE
View Entire Chapter196.1995 Economic development ad valorem tax exemption.—(1) The board of county commissioners of any county or the governing authority of any municipality shall call a referendum within its total jurisdiction to determine whether its respective jurisdiction may grant economic development ad valorem tax exemptions under s. 3, Art. VII of the State Constitution if:(a) The board of county commissioners of the county or the governing authority of the municipality votes to hold such referendum; or(b) The board of county commissioners of the county or the governing authority of the municipality receives a petition signed by 10 percent of the registered electors of its respective jurisdiction, which petition calls for the holding of such referendum.(2) The ballot question in such referendum shall be in substantially the following form:Shall the board of county commissioners of this county (or the governing authority of this municipality, or both) be authorized to grant, pursuant to s. 3, Art. VII of the State Constitution, property tax exemptions to new businesses and expansions of existing businesses?
____ Yes—For authority to grant exemptions.
____ No—Against authority to grant exemptions.
Commissioners Fred Coyle, Jim Coletta, Donna Fiala, Tom Henning, and Georgia Hiller all hesitate to vote on property tax rebates. Terminology seems to be a problem where rebates may be considered exemptions. Under Florida law, property tax exemptions are not allowed unless there is a voter referendum for which Georgia Hiller is correct – provided one of the two conditions above are met.
But the vote was unanimous to seek recommendations from the community on what economic incentives in Collier County the community wanted. That was wise. The local government can solve this problem in concert with the needs of the community. Although Commissioner Hiller motioned to put the vote to referendum – and was vetoed, there are other ways to solve the problem.