TALLAHASSEE — Retired Florida State University President Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte regaled an appellate court with a “magic potion” tale and invited the judges to a “house of mirrors” as he challenged homeowner tax breaks in two cases Tuesday.
D’Alemberte, now a law professor at the school, represented recently arrived Florida residents in one argument to the 1st District Court of Appeal and out-of-state owners of second homes in another.
They are challenging the 1992 Save Our Homes Amendment that limits assessment increases on primary homes to 3 percent annually and a “portability” provision voters added to the Florida Constitution last year. The latter lets homeowners take at least part of their Save Our Homes benefit with them when they move.
Save Our Homes has given longtime homeowners an unfair tax advantage compared to newcomers and nonresidents while portability has exacerbated that difference, D’Alemberte said.
Solicitor General Scott Makar disagreed with D’Alemberte’s interpretation of Hellerstein’s findings, saying he didn’t see any “skull and cross bones and poison signs.”
D’Alemberte also argued it impairs interstate commerce by discouraging Floridians from moving to other states that don’t offer incentives.