TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — On Thursday, Governor Ron DeSantis signed an Executive Order to suspend deadlines for payment of property taxes in counties that Hurricane Ian has impacted. The order affects real property, including personal homes and commercial property destroyed by the storm or that are uninhabitable.
At a press conference in Fort Myers, the governor said he would call a special session of the Legislature to discuss property tax relief, addressing lingering property insurance issues as well. “We’ll have those dates nailed down very soon. But it will certainly be before the end of the calendar year,” DeSantis said.
“Floridians who have lost their homes and businesses because of Hurricane Ian shouldn’t have to now worry about their property taxes,” the governor said. “Through this Executive Order, we are providing temporary relief until we can get the Legislature back to Tallahassee to establish more permanent solutions for property taxes, provide additional economic relief to Southwest Florida, and implement necessary reforms to the property insurance market.”
APPLIES TO STATE OF EMERGENCY COUNTIES
The order applies to all counties that were declared a state of emergency when Hurricane Ian passed over the state. DeSantis said that decisions made during the special session could be timed by lawmakers to make retroactive property tax changes, helping those with uninhabitable property due to the storm.
As reported by the Florida Standard, a special legislative session in May provided $2 billion in additional reinsurance as a crucial backup to the private insurance market. The governor and legislators have said that more work needs to be done, but the state is on track to introduce more competition and policy choices that will lower consumer prices.
BRINGING NEW INSURERS TO FLORIDA
During the last special session, “there were some very positive reforms that were done. But there were also things that we wanted to do that the Legislature at that time was not willing to do,” DeSantis said. “I think we will be able to do that in this special session.”
Incoming Speaker-designate Paul Renner (R-Palm Coast) told The Florida Standard that the state is on track to bring new insurers to Florida, even after the storm. “Prior to Hurricane Ian’s arrival, the Florida Legislature took steps to stabilize Florida’s insurance market and set aside record reserves and emergency funds to address future disasters. We will not allow Florida’s insurance market to fail,” he said.