Local tax reform coming to Florida? In a manner of speaking - maybe
Bottom Line: Current Florida law allows any local government with taxing authority to present the issue of a tax increase to residents in any type of an election. Many local governments, especially in South Florida, have taken to elections with presumed lower turnout as opportunities to present these proposals. The idea being that if you can motivate those with something to gain through the increases to vote in large numbers during a low turnout cycle – you're good to go without have to account for the interests of a majority of constituents. Recently the state Senate Committee on Ethics and Elections passed a bill that would require proposed tax increases to be on a general election ballot.
A quick average of voter turnout across the state by election type shows the following...
- General Election: 60%
- Primary elections: 23%
- Local only elections: 18%
- Special Elections: 12%
There’s no question about the potential for the tactic to be successful. That being said it’s still a responsibility for voters to engage all cycles. Every election has consequences – often with the one’s closest to you having the biggest impact on your daily life – yet they’re the most often to be ignored. Local officials trying to take advantage of low engagement is unfortunate but so is the lack of civic engagement by those able to vote.