Government Bytes


Florida Voters to Decide on Size of State Government, Property Tax Hikes, Reducing Burden on Business

by Brandon Arnold / /

Ballot measures may not garner the attention the presidential contest does in a battleground state like Florida, but voters cannot afford to enter the polls unprepared.  With eleven proposed amendments to Florida’s Constitution on the ballot, Floridians will determine the fate of millions of taxpayer dollars through measures restricting state spending, local tax hikes, and much more.

Should Florida Limit Government Growth?

Proposed Amendment 3 would limit the size of the State’s government by preventing revenues from increasing faster than population growth plus the rate of inflation.  Similar laws and amendments have passed in other states -- most famously, Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR), which curbed government growth and led to tax rebates for Colorado residents.

Will Florida Spurn U.S. Supreme Court “Obamacare” Decision?

In June, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the individual health insurance mandate, which is a key component of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.  Florida voters will have an opportunity to weigh in on this controversial issue when they vote on proposed Amendment 1. Given Florida’s importance in the presidential race, this vote on one of Obama’s signature issues should prove interesting.

Could Tax Reductions for Small Businesses Spur Job Creation?

Florida’s unemployment rate of 8.7% is well above the national average. Many economists say that reducing the tax burden on small businesses can help create jobs and Floridians will have an opportunity to test that when they vote on proposed Amendment 10. If this measure passes, it will increase the tax exemption that businesses get for tangible personal property, like furniture, manufacturing equipment and computers.

Should Local Governments Raise Taxes?

Several local governments are seeking to raise taxes.  For example, Brevard County will consider a 5-cent sales tax increase for school facilities and technology. Miami-Dade County voters will determine the fate of a proposal to issue $1.2 billion in new debt for school upgrades. This would be repaid with higher property taxes.  By contrast, voters in Satellite City will weigh in on a ballot measure that would require a 4/5 supermajority of voters to approve any tax hike.

Stay tuned for more on the major state ballot initiatives this election season, and visit our 2012 Ballot Guide page HERE to find your state’s complete slate of propositions, questions, amendments and more.