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Two Plans Limit Florida’s Cities and Counties Abilities to Raise Taxes

March 26th, 2008 by flanews

Two plans to limit local governments taxing abilities are on the table in Tallahassee. Lawmakers will decide the fate of one of the proposals. The other could be left up to voters. As Whitney Ray tells us, city and county leaders were at the Capitol Wednesday to oppose the plans.

Hear it here: Two Plans Limit Florida’s Cities and Counties Abilities to Raise Taxes

Florida’s City leaders are fighting two battles in Tallahassee, to keep control of taxes and fees, like those on trash services. On one side is the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission and on the other front, lawmakers who want to make it harder to increase taxes.

“When its a tough budget time for the state, then it’s a tough budget time for home owners, it’s a tough budget time for families and so we want to make sure that before we ask them for more money, that everyone knows what they’re voting on and there should be a consensus on that,” said state congresswoman Anitere Flores.

Flores is sponsoring a bill to require a supermajority vote from county and city boards in order to raise taxes or fees. Representative Eduardo Gonzalez said a majority is enough.

“If you’ve got a majority vote, you don’t need a super majority. You still have to get 4 out of 7 or three out of five, so at the end of the day, that’s well enough,” said Gonzalez.

A plan in front of The Taxation and Budget Reform Commission would require voters to approve any new taxes. The commission is calling the plan that would also cap government spending, the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. Colorado did the same thing more than a decade ago, but later suspended the plan. Mayor of Pembroke Pines Frank Ortis said if a Taxpayer Bill of Rights is approved, there would be little need for city leaders.

“To say we’re going to cap revenue is just tying our hands. Here’s the keys you run the cities. And you think people are going to be happy about that? I don’t think they are,” said Ortis.

Governor Charlie Crist admits, he hasn’t taken a good look at the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, but based on the name, he said it sounds like a winner. If 17 of the 25 members of the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission approve a Taxpayers Bill of Rights, then the plan would be placed on the November ballot.

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