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Court Axes Amendment 5

September 3rd, 2008 by Mike Vasilinda

The Florida Supreme Court today asked tough questions about whether the ballot title and summary for the tax swap amendment were misleading. A lower court had already ruled the amendments promise to replace lost school funding was misleading because voters arent told the promise is good for only one year. As Mike Vasilinda tells us the court agreed.

Amendment 5 eliminates most school property taxes. Its title and summary tells voters it will be replaced with equivalent state revenues”.

Justice Peggy Quince and others at the Supreme Court asked tough and pointed questions.

It eliminates for all time correct?
Correct said Attorney Mark Herron
And replaces for one year? asked Quince.
It replaces in the year in which the elimination occurs responded Herron.

Justice Fred Lewis offered that it was time to stop playing games.

That it not engage in all these catchy phrases and political jargon, if you will, thats popular of the day, so that the people of Florida will know what they are voting on says the judge.

Afterwards Heron indicated he had seen the writing on the wall.

Ive done this before a lot of times. Ive gotten beat up a lot of times. Some times you win, some times you lose says Herron.

This was one of those times. Barry Richard represented a coalition that wanted the amendment off the ballot. He felt good at the conclusion of the arguments.

Its a very fundamental principle of democratic society in that people need to know what they are voting for.

We asked Roberta Burton if she knew what she thought the language meant.
She responded And that they are going to replace it with other revenue.
Do you think it means forever?
Probably as long as its going to last.

And based on at least this one voters reading…the court was correct. The amendment was misleading. The court took a little over 4 hours to rule. A speedy ruling was necessary because the state needed to know what to print on the November ballots by Friday.

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