In a rare case this morning, the Florida Supreme Court listened to
lawyers tell it why it should reverse a decision made less than a month
ago. In September, the court ruled that local governments must let
voters decide if they want to approve certain bond issues. That ruling
overturned 27 years of law in Florida. Today the court was told holding
the course would result in chaos for local government funding.
Elaine Johnson James, the attorney for Escambia county asked the judges to
change their minds, “Community redevelopment agencies deal in blighted areas. They already
have the difficulty of trying to find funds to rebuild areas. If you add
to that the additional expense of referenda, the tax increment financing
deal is going to be a dinosaur in Florida.”
But attorney David Theriaque who argued for opponents of local government,
urged the court to not change a thing about their ruling. “We believe that this
decision is a victory for the voters of Florida, that before long-term debt in
incurred, they get to say yes or no. We hope the court doesn’t back off from that.
To me, that’s the big picture of this case.”
The court took the case under advisement. It was the first time most
members of the court participated in rehearing oral arguments in a case.