While addressing the 18th Annual Our Hero’s Luncheon in Tampa today, Governor Rick Scott urged Floridians to show appreciation for Florida’s fallen first responders by approving HB 95, creating the Fallen Heroes Family Tax Relief Act. This legislation changes Florida law to correspond with the provisions of HJR 93, which will be on the ballot this November. If approved, the amendment will provide a property-tax exemption to the surviving spouse of a first responder who dies in the line of duty. The bill signed by the Governor today provides for the statutory changes to implement the constitutional amendment if it is approved by 60 percent of voters.
“For Florida’s law enforcement officers and first responders, any routine traffic stop or emergency call can turn into a dangerous situation that can potentially cost their lives,” said Governor Scott. “Their selfless service ensures our well-being and safety, and the families of the fallen live each day with the loss of their loved one. The constitutional amendment is one way we can show them our appreciation for their sacrifice.”
HB 95 – Homestead Property Tax Exemptions (Fallen Heroes Family Tax Relief Act)
• HB 95 provides for the statutory changes to implement the constitutional amendment (HJR 93) that is on the ballot in November. It must be approved by 60% of voters to pass.
• Exempts from ad valorem taxation homesteaded property owned by the surviving spouse of a first responder who died in the line of duty while employed by the state or any political subdivision of the state, including authorities and special districts.
• First responders are full-time paid employees, part-time paid employees, or volunteers and defined as
o Law enforcement officers
o Correctional officers
o Emergency medical technicians
• “Die in the line of duty” also includes a heart attack or stroke causing death or an injury resulting in death if it occurs within 24 hours after the event
• The bill exempts from ad valorem taxation (school and non-school) any homesteaded property owned by the surviving spouse of a first responder who died in the line of duty while employed by the state or any political subdivision of the state, including authorities and special districts.
• The exemption may be transferred to a new residency as long as the spouse does not remarry.
• The act is effective for tax rolls beginning with January 2013.
• If adopted, the act would reduce school taxes and non-school taxes by $300,000 each per year.