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Senate tax proposal includes property insurance relief as FL homeowners struggle with affordability

Democrats have been critical of GOP legislative priorities in the 2024 legislative session, saying they haven’t done enough to address the property insurance crisis in Florida.

But on Monday, the GOP-controlled Senate Finance and Tax committee unveiled a $900 million tax relief package (SB 7404) that includes a one-year exemption on taxes, fees, and assessments for residential property insurance policyholders, according to a news release.

A staff analysis on the proposal relates “to a policy providing property insurance on a residential dwelling with a coverage amount of $750,000 or less which provides coverage for a twelve month period with an effective date not before July 1, 2024, and no later than June 30, 2025. The bill requires an insurer issuing such a policy to provide a credit to the policyholder equal to 1.75 percent of the net premium due. The amount of the credit must be separately stated on the declarations page of the insurance policy.”

The proposal also exempts flood insurance policies enacted or renewed after July from premium taxes for one year, according to the analysis.

“A savings of about four percent is a low amount for Floridians who have watched their property insurance premiums soar for these last years, more than doubling under Ron DeSantis,” Orlando Democratic Rep. Anna Eskamani told the Phoenix in a text message. “We need to do more if we are going to truly help Floridians navigate this insurance crisis.”

“That said, I am glad to see the Senate include even these minimal tax breaks for Floridians,” she added.

Senate President Kathleen Passidomo said Monday that the Legislature is aware that the cost of property insurance is posing a “major affordability problem for many Florida homeowners.”

“I believe every little bit helps, and reducing the taxes associated with flood insurance and property insurance premiums is important for families who are trying make ends meet as our insurance market strengthens,” she said in a press release.

In his budget proposal announced in December, Gov. DeSantis called for a one-year exemption on taxes, fees and assessments for home insurance policies, saying that it would provide for $409 million in tax relief which his office said would decrease the average insurance premium by up to 6%. DeSantis also called for a permanent exemption on floor insurance policies, as opposed to the one year plan the Senate is offering.

The House tax plan released last week does not include any exemptions on taxes, fees and assessments on property insurance policies, according to the News Service of Florida. It also doesn’t include any tax exemptions on flood insurance policies.

The Senate tax plan will be heard for the first time on Tuesday afternoon in the Senate Finance and Tax Committee, beginning at 1:30 p.m.

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