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League of Women Voters opposes Amendment 5


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 5.

From the League of Women Voters

Amendment 5: Oppose

Requires a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to approve any new or increased taxes or fees, rather than a simple majority.

This proposed amendment would require that all increases in taxes or fees, or the creation of any new taxes or fees, must pass both chambers of the Florida Legislature by a two-thirds vote, or 67 percent.

Under current law, nearly every bill related to taxes or fees must pass the state House and Senate by a simple majority. (The state has a few exceptions, including increases in the corporate tax beyond 5 percent, which requires a three-fifths approval.)

This amendment would dramatically expand those supermajority requirements to include taxes on sales, gasoline, alcohol and unemployment, as well as fees for fishing, drivers licenses and concealed firearms licenses, to name a few (a legislative analysis of the proposal is here).

In the Florida House, that means 80 of its 120 members would have to vote in favor of raising taxes or fees. In the Senate, it would take a vote of 27 of that body’s 40 members.

While bills in the Legislature often contain multiple provisions, this amendment requires that any tax or fee increase must stand by itself in a separate bill.

Amendment 5 does not place any limits on tax or fee increases by local governments, such as cities and school boards. The amendment does not include a provision that would allow for tax or fee increases during times of emergency.

If the amendment passes, Florida will join about a dozen other states that require supermajority votes to raise taxes. The last attempt to limit government revenue or spending was in 2012, when the Legislature placed on the ballot an amendment that tied the amount of money the state can collect in taxes and fees to population changes and inflation. That amendment, known by the acronym TABOR, for taxpayer bill of rights, was defeated.

Florida already is ranked by the Tax Foundation as the fourth most business-friendly state in the nation when it comes to taxes, and Wallethub ranks Florida as the 47th overall lowest tax burden in the nation.


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