by user Don Pesci
My wife and I and Jake, her guide dog, are back from a short vacation in Florida, where we visited with her sister and a friend who moved out of Connecticut several years ago to be near his son.
The many Nutmeggers were met in Naples and Viro Beach put me in mind of a story told about Rex Harrison, the famous British actor who moved to Belgium in order, some supposed, to escape Britain’s high taxes.
Why did he move to Belgium, Harrison was asked by a none too pleasant BBC reporter.
Harrison smiled broadly and said he liked the chocolates.
Florida is not known for its chocolates, but it has become a haven for tired, wretched and increasingly poor Nutmeggers who like its Homestead Act.
The Homestead Act is a bar to the kinds of increases in Connecticut property taxes that now threaten to impoverish all classes in the state but the very wealthy, whose fixed incomes are generous. They may not be so for long; our ever voracious legislature has been diddling for some time with a millionaire's tax. Most recently, Democrats in the legislature have settled upon a more progressive tax that will kick in when earnings reach the $200,000 level, perhaps reasoning that a 1/5th millionaire is better than no millionaire at all
If you bought a house in Naples in 1960 and paid X percent in taxes on it, the X percent does not increase as you get on in years and your earning potential decreases. It stays the same.
Naples and Vero Beach are boomtowns largely because of the Homestead Act.
Not only does the Florida property tax homestead exemption reduces the value of a home for assessment of property taxes by $25,000, it also caps the rate at which property taxes may be increased. If a house is homesteaded, its assessed value remains the same as ir was at the time of purchase.
There is no revauation of homes in Florida; this is the result of the “Save Our Homes” Amendment to the Florida Constitution which was passed by voters in 1992, and went into effect in 1995. The amendment caps the increase of the assessed value of a home with a homestead exemption to the lesser of 3% or the rate of inflation.
And so, a Floridian, returning home from a vacation in Connecticut never picks up his newspaper to find this.
The city of Hartford is forced to go begging for a reprive from the legislature because a) the city itself has not minded its spending, b) revaluation has enriched the government of Hartford while impoverishing its people, c) the city now finds it must reverse an earlier prudent decision to eliminate a tax that is punishing to businesses because people simply cannot afford the hike in taxes.
The good news is – they can always move to Florida, where the weather is fine, the taxes are low and business is booming.