Who supports portable assessment caps: The role of lock-in, mobility and tax share
Popular support for property assessment caps has been explained as attempts to protect long-time home owners and to constrain local public expenditures. However, in the absence of a binding cap on millage rates, an assessment limit simply lowers the tax share of low-mobility homeowners at the expense of high-mobility homeowners. A recent amendment in Florida made existing exemptions portable, lowering the tax share of high mobility households and raising the tax share of low mobility households. Examining vote share by precinct, we find that more mobile households support portability but that precincts with larger exemptions do not. We also find evidence that voters understood how the amendment impacts their tax share. Support for portability is higher when a city has many out-of-state and thus "exemption-less" immigrants and support is lower when mobility in the rest of the tax jurisdiction is high. These findings suggest that voters alter assessment rules to minimize their own tax share.
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