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2012 General Election Ballot Guide: Florida

FLTX

Statewide Measures

  • ( + ) In response to the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act, Floridians will weigh in on Amendment 1, the Florida Health Care Amendment, which would prevent individuals from being penalized for failing to purchase health insurance.
  • ( + ) Florida residents will vote on Amendment 2, the Florida Veterans  Property Tax Amendment, which would give property tax discounts to all veterans who lived in Florida prior to their service, as well as all combat- disabled veterans currently living in Florida.
  • ( + ) Voters will decide on Amendment 3, the Florida State Revenue Limitation Amendment, which is modeled after Colorado’s “Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights” and would limit revenue growth to increases in inflation and pop- ulation. Excess receipts would be deposited into a budget stabilization fund, and once filled, further receipts could be used to fulfill certain edu- cation funding requirements and provide tax relief. The limit could increased by a “supermajority” vote of the Legislature (in most cases two-thirds) or by a 60 percent vote of the people.
  • ( + ) Floridians will vote on Amendment 4, the Florida Property Tax Amendment, which caps property assessment increases at 3 percent per year. The property tax rate for rental properties would be lowered to 10 percent, and the rate for commercial properties would drop to 5 percent. Also, an additional homestead exemption would be implemented for first-time buyers, equaling 50 percent of the median home price in a given county.
  • ( + ) Florida voters will weigh in on Amendment 9, the Florida Property Tax Exemption for Surviving Spouses Amendment, which would authorize the Legislature to grant total or partial property tax exemptions to surviving spouses of military veterans or first responders who died in the line of duty.
  • ( + ) Voters will decide on Amendment 10, the Florida Tangible Personal Property Tax Exemption Amendment. This measure would increase the amount of tangible personal property (furniture and manufacturing equip- ment, for example) that is tax exempt. Currently, the first $25,000 of tan- gible personal property is exempt in Florida, but this measure seeks to raise that bar to $50,000. According to estimates, property tax collections are expected to fall by $61 million over the first 3 years if the amendment passes. Supporters claim that Amendment 10 would accelerate small busi- ness growth and job creation.
  • ( + ) Floridians will also decide on Amendment 11, the Florida Senior Homestead Tax Exemption Amendment, which would authorize counties and municipalities to offer additional tax exemptions on homes of low- income seniors.

Brevard County

Countywide Measures

  • ( - ) Voters in Brevard County will decide on a measure that would impose a 0.5 percent sales tax surcharge to pay for school facilities and educa- tional  technology.

Local Measures

  • ( - )  In Malabar City, voters will weigh in on Question 6, which would raise property taxes for two years to enable the local government to purchase land.
  • ( + ) Referendum 1 will give Palm Bay City voters an opportunity to limit the salaries of the City Council. It would require that these salaries do not exceed those of City Council Members in Florida cities of compa- rable size and form of government.
  • ( + ) Rockledge City voters will vote on a measure that would allow the City Council to grant property tax exemptions to new businesses and expansions of existing businesses.
  • ( + ) Satellite Beach City residents will have the opportunity to pass a meas- ure that would require that any tax increase be approved by a 4/5 majority of voters.

Collier County

Countywide Measures

  • ( )  Voters will decide on a referendum that would raise property taxes for school operating costs by 0.25 mills, but reduce property taxes for capital expenses by the same amount. The result is no change in taxes.

Leon County

Countywide Measures

  • Leon County voters will decide whether or not to extend a sales tax surcharge, which was originally approved in 2002 to finance educational facilities.

Marion County

Countywide Measures

  • ( - ) Voters will weigh in on a measure that would issue $130 million in new debt to pay off existing debt and perform renovations at the Munroe Regional Medical Center.

Miami-Dade County

Countywide Measures

  • ( - ) In Miami-Dade County, voters will decide on a proposal that would issue $1.2 billion in new debt, which would be used to finance school upgrades. The debt would be repaid through higher property taxes on County residents.
  • ( + ) Miami-Dade voters will have the opportunity to establish term limits for County Commissioners. If the measure is passed, Commissioners would be able to serve no more than two consecutive 4-year terms.

Palm Beach County

Countywide Measures

  • ( + ) Palm Beach County voters will decide on a measure that would allow the County to grant property tax exemptions to new businesses and expansions of existing businesses.

Pasco County

Countywide Measures

  • A ballot initiative would continue to assess a 1 percent sales tax sur- charge, which is otherwise scheduled to expire at the end of 2014. If approved, the tax is expected to generate $502 million over 10 years, which would be used for public safety and transportation projects.

Pinellas County

Countywide Measures

  • Voters will decide on the extension of a $31 million property tax, the revenues from which would be used for schools.

Local Measures

  • ( - )  A ballot initiative in Belleair Bluffs would extend terms for the Mayor and City Commissioners. If approved, terms would increase from 2 years to 3 years, thus reducing accountability to voters.
  • ( + ) Largo City voters will decide on a measure that would allow the City Council to grant property tax exemptions to new businesses and expansions of existing businesses.

Polk County

Countywide Measures

  • ( + ) Polk County voters will decide on a measure that would allow the County to grant property tax exemptions to new businesses and expansions of existing businesses.

Walton County

Countywide Measures

  • ( + ) Walton County voters will decide on a measure that would allow the County to grant property tax exemptions to new businesses and expansions of existing businesses.