From the League of Women Voters
Editor’s Note: This is a 12-day series that looks at each amenement the League of Women Voters analyzed and made a recommendation. Today their analysis and recommendation is on Amendment 2
Our board examined every amendment that voters will decide on and determined positions on each. We weighed already established League positions heavily in our decisions.
The Supreme Court has removed Amendment 8 from the November 2018 Ballot, upholding the decision by a lower court that Amendment 8 misled voters by not clearly stating its true purpose and never mentioning charter schools by name. The Court approved three other appealed amendments, 6, 10 and 13. They will stay on the ballot.
Twelve proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution remain on the Nov. 6, 2018, ballot, 8 more than appeared on the 2016 ballot.
However, voters face more questions than is apparent.
That’s because Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission (CRC), which convenes every 20 years, is allowed by law to bundle more than one issue into each question. This practice, also known as “logrolling,” is prohibited when amendments are placed on the ballot by citizen initiative or by the Florida Legislature. Those amendments must contain just one distinct question. To learn more about the 2017/18 CRC, click here.
In 1978, the first CRC proposed eight amendments, at least half of which had multiple questions. All were defeated by voters. Twenty years later, in 1998, the CRC proposed nine amendments, all of which had multiple questions. All but one passed.
An example of the CRC’s issue bundling in 2018 is Amendment 9, which asks voters to decide whether to ban offshore oil drilling, and whether to ban e-cigarettes at workplaces. Like the CRC’s other bundled amendments, voters cannot cast separate votes on drilling and vaping. These are all-or-nothing propositions.
Of the 12 amendments on this year’s ballot, eight were proposed by the CRC, three by the Florida Legislature and two by citizen initiative. To pass, each of them must receive at least 60 percent approval by voters. This is the first time that constitutional amendments proposed by a CRC have faced the 60-percent hurdle, which voters approved in 2006. Before then, amendments just needed a simple majority for approval. Unless otherwise indicated, changes to the Constitution take effect on Jan. 8, 2019.
Makes permanent what currently is a temporary cap of 10 percent on annual property value increases for vacation homes, apartments and commercial property, effectively limiting increases on tax bills.
The League has a position that “no tax sources or revenue should be specified, limit. In 2008, Florida voters amended the state Constitution to provide a 10-percent cap on annual property value increases for non-homestead property. This includes vacation homes, apartment buildings, vacant land, shopping centers and office buildings. The amendment excluded limits on assessments for school taxes.
The amendment gave those properties some measure of tax protection from fast-rising property values, something homeowners get under the state’s Save Our Homes amendment, which limits property value increases for a primary residence to 3 percent each year. Property value matters because it determines how much you pay in property taxes.
However, the 2008 amendment on non-homestead property value limits is scheduled to automatically repeal on Jan. 1, 2019. Amendment 2, placed on the ballot by the Florida Legislature, would make the 10-percent limit on property value permanent (a legislative analysis of the proposal is here).
Like the 2008 amendment, Amendment 2 would exclude local school district taxes from the property value limits. The limits also do not apply if the property changes hands or if it undergoes substantial improvements. In other words, if a store is built on a piece of vacant land, the property value increase would not be protected by the 10-percent limit.
If approved by voters, this amendment would take effect on Jan. 1, 2019., exempted, or prohibited in the Constitution.”