As we come to the end of a most difficult 2020, it is time to examine what the next year may bring to the Martin County Taxpayer.

Our real estate taxes won’t change in this budget year. Many of us have already paid those taxes to receive the discount that is offered. The real estate market is on fire with homes going to contract within days for astounding prices. The question is whether there are enough buyers to sustain this pace.

The Covid pandemic has affected many of our most vulnerable populations. While those who work in offices have been able to carry on at home, many employees and owners of brick-and-mortar stores and restaurants have seen slowdowns and some shutdowns. This has reduced sales tax collections. The State of Florida, which relies heavily on this type tax, already projects budget shortfalls of $5.4 billion over the next two years.

The largest one tax source for local government are real estate taxes. If the economy does not bounce back, then we may be looking at our own local budget shortfalls in future years. The current values of property have not seen a slide as of today. However, if existing owners are unable to pay their real estate taxes or real property prices fall because of market conditions, then we foresee a local problem for tax collection.

In Florida, it takes between one or two budget cycles for real property values to be reflected in the taxes billed. In some respect, we are fortunate that local government will have an opportunity to know how a continued recession will affect its collections and adequately plan.

The Martin County Taxpayers Association will continue to report on these and all trends affecting you, the taxpayers.

From our board and membership, we want to wish you a Happy Chanukah, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!