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A Deadly Mix of Amendments?

October 3rd, 2018 by Mike Vasilinda
Florida voters are faced with choices to give themselves bigger property tax breaks while at the same time making it harder for the state to raise taxes, but the League of Women Voters and others say the combination could be deadly for the state’s finances.
Amendment 5 would require a 2/3 vote from future state lawmakers to raise any tax or fee.
Governor Rick Scott, who counts 80+ tax cuts under his tenure, asked for the tax limitation during his last State of the State address.
“It will force leaders to contemplate living within their means, rather than taking the easy way out and just sticking it to the public,” said Scott.
The League of Women Voters argues that there is no reason to tie the hands of future leaders.
“Today, Flordia spends less than 48 other states on our educational system. This would just make that worse,” said Teri Cleeland with the League.
Supporting the amendment, the Florida Chamber says cutting taxes has created jobs.
“And, it’s had great outcomes, right? We’ve had a state that’s created one point five million private sector jobs because we’ve produced one of the best tax climates in the country,” said David Hart with the Chamber of Commerce.
While Amendment 5 makes it harder to raise taxes in the future, Amendment 1 gives homeowners a bigger tax break.
Karen Woodall with the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy says passing both would be a ‘double whammy’.
“You restrict local governments from their ability to fund  things that are libraries, parks, local issues, and then you are going to make it harder to get the legislature to fill in those gaps,” said Woodall.
Florida’s constitution already prohibits a state income tax, and raising the Corporate Income Tax requires a 3/5 vote, so tax limitations aren’t new to the Constitution.
Governor Rick Scott says his tax cuts amount to more than $7.5 billion.
Advocates say most of those cuts went to the wealthy, not everyday Floridians.

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