Amendment I passes, Lawsuit threatens

Updated: A big issue for Florida voters is Amendment I, the property tax proposal.

Sixty-four percent of voters voted yes on Amendment I, and 36 percent voted no. It needed 60 percent to pass.

The measure is welcomed by many homeowners, but city leaders are bracing for cuts in services. The city of West Palm Beach predicts it will take an $8 million hit to its budget.

Palm Beach County faces a loss of $35 million with $11 million of that coming from fire-rescue's budget. City leaders will have to restructure spending. It's debated whether the most vital services need to face cuts.

For most homesteaded property owners, the approval will mean a savings of about $240. But, the much bigger savings will come from the portability portion of the bill.

Homeowners should see the relief in the tax bills they get this fall, but that may depend on the courts. A lawsuit may threaten the Amendment from being implemented.

Besides personal gains for homeowners, proponents of Amendment I are hoping it will help revive the weak housing market and stimulate the sluggish economy.

Previously: Voters are going to the polls Tuesday to decide on the property tax amendment. Amendment I would allow homesteaded properties to take accrued tax savings to a new home.

Darren Eastwood of Palm Springs says he's all for it. He would like to move, but, as it is now, he couldn't afford the higher taxes. "Definitely, going to vote. I think it's a step in the right direction. Anytime, you cut those taxes down, there's going to be a corresponding, some cut in the level of services."

The Firefighters Union opposes Amendment I saying fire departments, depending entirely on revenue from property taxes, will be hurt by the change.