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Jan 28,2008
Lawsuit: Fla. tax cap discriminatory
by UPI

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Fla. residents have filed a lawsuit saying a state law limiting property taxes for long-time homeowners discriminates against more recent arrivals.

Save Our Homes is an amendment to the state constitution intended to prevent skyrocketing property values – and the high tax burden that comes with them – from pricing people out of their homes, The Miami Herald reported Sunday. Amendment 1, a ballot initiative voters will consider Tuesday, would strengthen the measure by allowing homeowners to carry the tax cap with them when they buy a new house.

But Robert C. Bruner, Deborah Plitnick and Stanley C. Chamberlin, who appear as plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit, and many other new Floridians, say the law and the amendment take away their constitutional rights.

As the law stands, someone who moves to the state to purchase a house has to pay property taxes as much as three times higher than a Florida resident who qualifies for the tax cap, the newspaper said.

The lawsuit says that difference violates the Equal Protection Clause contained in the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution because it discriminates against newcomers.

Proponents of the amendments in the state legislature say they are confident they will survive legal scrutiny.

© 2008 United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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