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Two Plans Limit Floridas 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 Floridas Cities and Counties Abilities to Raise Taxes

Floridas 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 its a tough budget time for home owners, its 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 theyre 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 youve got a majority vote, you dont 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, thats 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 Taxpayers 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 were going to cap revenue is just tying our hands. Heres the keys you run the cities. And you think people are going to be happy about that? I dont think they are, said Ortis.

Governor Charlie Crist admits, he hasnt taken a good look at the Taxpayers 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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