Florida state economists are predicting another increase this year in the state’s real estate tax collections. The one hitch is as to how the money will be used considering the debate over the new, voter-approved conservation efforts. Documentary tax receipts are expected to hit $2.3 billion in the 2015-16 budget year, an increase of about $200 million over collections made in 2014.
In the past, during the peak of real estate sales, taxes from these transactions contributed large budget surpluses. The real estate recession really slowed down the collection of doc stamps, but signs are showing a renewed life as the state’s housing market recovers. The forecast predicts a post-recession high.
Environmentalists are now closely watching these taxes. The so-called Florida Water and Land Legacy Amendment 1, approved by 75% of state voters in November, 2014, allows the state to use one-third of these tax collections for conservation lands and protecting water resources over the next two decades. Predictions are that close to $700 million could be available to environmental programs in 2015. State economists earlier reported that Florida's volume of home sales will come close to matching its peak in 2005.
As Naples continues to set the standard for the preservation of environmentally sensitive lands along with the creation of public use lands for all, our city will become even more desirable for people of all ages to enjoy living in.