ORLANDO, Fla. – The League of Women Voters of Florida is convinced Amendment 5 would leave lawmakers at a disadvantage on certain issues, while supporters argue it would protect state taxpayers from undue tax hikes.
“It poses challenges that really don’t need to be there, LVW president Patricia Brigham told
News 6. “It could really hold a minority of lawmakers hostage.”
Amendment 5 would require a two-thirds supermajority vote to enact new taxes or fees or increase existing ones.
The League's position states, in part, "This amendment does not include a provision that would allow for tax increases in times of emergencies (hurricane, floods, recession, etc.) and is an abrogation of the Legislature’s fiduciary responsibility to pass a reasonable budget."
State Rep. Bob Cortes told News 6 the bipartisan measure protects Florida residents from “additional undue bundles of tax increases in the future.”
Cortes, who serves on the Ways and Means Committee, said the two-thirds vote provides added insulation from tax hikes that could place additional financial stress on state residents.
“If you’re going to tax people, it should be the voice of the people, and the voice of the people we consider to be two-third vote,” he said.
Both Brigham and Cortes agree the four amendments that combine or roll issues together create a “disconnect” that may confuse voters.
For example, Amendment 9 combines two proposed changes: Prohibiting offshore oil drilling and prohibiting vaping inside the workplace.
“Well, there’s a disconnect in the way they were bundled,” Brigham said, “because some of the issues have nothing to do with the other.”
The following amendments also bundle issues into one amendment on this year's ballot:
- Amendment 6, which expands victims’ rights and increases the mandatory retirement age of judges from 70 to 75.
- Amendment 7, which provides survivors benefits to first responders' and military families and creates a supermajority requirement for state universities to impose new or increase student fees.
- Amendment 11, which repeals the state’s ability to prohibit noncitizens from buying, selling or owning property, changes language that impacts how a criminal is prosecuted and deletes language having to do with high-speed rail.
Click here for a full breakdown of each amendment.