On November 1st, I should receive a Citrus County Property tax bill from Janice Warren. Property taxes have been around since 6000 B.C. Clay tablets from the city-state Lagash (part of modern day Iraq) showed figures called "bala" or rotation. Tax assessors would focus on different areas of the city-state monthly to access the tax value for the king. During the dark ages , the manor lords had to pay a tax for their lands to the king. Today it is a tax which generates revenue for the local government's budget. It works well in generating about 3/4 of the local taxes and 1/2 of the local government revenue excluding state and local aid.
Some feel the property tax is a tax on capital which would make it a progressive tax. Usually property value continues to increase annually. Low-income families with lots of kids consume more in government services (such education) than they pay in taxes. Actually better education helps the country's economy with higher paying jobs and better infrastructure. In 1995, the Florida Constitution was amended to limit the annual increase in assessed property value (with Homestead Exemption) to 3% or the change in the consumer index--whichever is lower. The assessment can not exceed fair market value and is limited to property value and not property taxes. Property taxes are due by March 31st. However the taxes are discounted if paid in November (4%), in December (3%), in January (2%), or in February (1%). Paying early saves money.
The property tax is a stable reliable revenue source. Some suggest doing away with the property tax and raising the sales tax to perhaps 11-12% would be more equitable. Sales taxes are regressive tax. Low-income people would spend a greater proportion of their budgets on consumption and on goods, which are taxed, rather than services, which are not. Local property taxes must be administered fairly and the tax burdens distributed equitably among taxpayers (homeowners and business owners).
An old proverb says:" The best things in life are free, but sooner or later the government will find a way to tax them." Florida does not collect property taxes--only local county governments levy real estate taxes. Thus this helps keep them lower than most states. We don't live in a bubble and benefit every day from these tax dollars that are collected. So send that check and pay your taxes!