DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — When you cast your ballot this election, you’ll have six Florida constitutional amendments to decide on. The last of these focuses on the families of disabled veterans.
What You Need To Know
- Amendment 6 targets spouses of deceased disabled veterans
- Allows the veterans homestead exemption to be transferred to the surviving spouse
- The discount is already a law in Florida, this would put it in the Florida Constitution
- COMPLETE COVERAGE: Making Sense of the Florida Constitutional Amendments | Florida Voting Guide
On your ballot, you’ll see Amendment 6 is titled "Ad Valorem Tax Discount for Spouses of Certain Deceased Veterans Who Had Permanent Combat Related Disabilities."
This means surviving spouses of disabled veterans who benefited from the homestead property tax discount would have that discount legally carried over to them until they remarry. That discount could also transfer if they move into a new home.
According to University of Central Florida political science professor Dr. Aubrey Jewett, under current state law, many spouses are already able to do this.
“But it is only state law, so it could be changed by some future legislature, for instance, if they were hard up for money or something like that," she said. "So what Amendment 6 would do is enshrine this benefit in the Florida Constitution, rather than just having it in state statute."
According to the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs, Florida has about 1.5 million Veterans — which is about 10 percent of the state's population. About 350,000 of them are receiving disability compensation.
“The main argument for voting for this amendment would be to honor the service of the veteran who had a combat-related injury, and especially to honor the surviving spouse of that veteran, and to give them a tangible reward," said Jewett.
"Probably the main two reasons to vote against it would be if you don’t think special tax breaks deserve to be in the Constitution," Jewett added. "Or if you feel giving special tax breaks at all is just not a good thing because you feel if you give special tax breaks to some, then the rest of the taxpayers have to pick up the tab.”
If 60 percent of voters vote in favor of Amendment 6, it will be added to the Florida Constitution. If it fails, Jewett said the discount will still be available to some under the state law.