The Center Square
By Bethany Blankley
December 17, 2021
(The Center Square) – A new poll conducted by the Center for Excellence in Polling, a project of the Foundation for Government Accountability, found that Florida voters support affordable healthcare options, educational choice and property tax reform, with “many of the issues surveyed having broad support across the political spectrum.”
When it comes to healthcare, 84% of voters support making it easier for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and others to provide more affordable health care insurance for their employees and families. Support was high across the political spectrum with 89% of Republicans, 84% of Democrats, and 78% of Independents expressing support.
The majority of Floridians polled, 74%, also support property tax reform, including increasing the state property tax discount for those who pay early. Currently, those who pay early receive a 4% discount. Voters expressed support for increasing the discount to 8%.
According to tax-rates.org, the median property tax in Florida is $1,773.00 per year for a home with a median value of $182,400. Counties collect an average of 0.97% of a property’s assessed fair market value as property tax per year.
Florida’s average property tax rate falls roughly in the middle of states’ rates based on the average amount of property taxes collected.
A smaller majority polled, of 59%, say they want to expand the state’s homestead property tax exemption. Currently, the exemption can be used towards the first $50,000 of the assessed value of the owner’s primary residence. Those polled support increasing the cap if or when the home value increases.
The first $25,000 of the exemption applies to all property taxes, including school district taxes. The additional $25,000 exemption applies to the assessed value between $50,000 and $75,000 and only to non-school taxes, the Florida Revenue Department explains.
When it comes to educational requirements for government jobs, work-study programs, or a school’s curriculum, the majority of Floridians polled said they want more options.
When it comes to expanding work-study programs, which reduces tuition for working students, 83% said they support it, including 85% of Democrats and 85% of Independents. Currently, college work-study programs are funded through federal and state taxes that allow students to reduce the amount of their tuition in exchange for working on campus.
Another 68 % expressed support for accepting on-the-job experience instead of college degree requirements for jobs in local and state government.
When it comes to actual school choice, allowing parents to choose a different school—private or public—if a parent expresses a moral or religious objection to the curriculum being taught, 59% said they support parental choice.
Unlike other states, the Florida Department of Education has an Office of K-12 School Choice. Its goal is “to support quality public and private educational choice programs by providing information and assistance to promote successful outcomes for students, families, institutions and communities.” It also provides a free survey for parents to take to learn what scholarships are available to their children.