The Florida Amendment Series: Amendment 5
Bottom Line: This is the fifth in a twelve-part series covering Florida’s proposed constitutional amendments. Amendments can be confusing enough to understand but furthering the confusion, while there were originally thirteen amendments scheduled for November’s ballot, a court ruling knocked the 8th off of the ballot. For that reason, you’ll see amendments 1 through 7 and 9 through 13. Each proposed amendment requires a minimum of 60% support to pass. Here’s how it will appear on the ballot:
BALLOT TITLE: Supermajority Vote Required to Impose, Authorize, or Raise State Taxes or Fees
BALLOT SUMMARY: Prohibits the legislature from imposing, authorizing, or raising a state tax or fee except through legislation approved by a two thirds vote of each house of the legislature in a bill containing no other subject. This proposal does not authorize a state tax or fee otherwise prohibited by the Constitution and does not apply to fees or taxes imposed or authorized to be imposed by a county, municipality, school board, or special district.
Thoughts: Let’s start with what this wouldn’t do. Impact local taxing authorities. Should amendment 5 pass it would only pertain to taxes imposed by state government. As almost all Floridians know, there are two prominent reasons people migrate in mass to Florida. To enjoy our weather/environment and taxes. While many local governments have been, and continue to be eager to raise local taxes, Florida’s reliability as a low tax state has continued to be a critical cog in our state’s success in attracting and growing businesses. Florida’s been led by Republicans for 20 consecutive years, so the threat of higher taxes from Tallahassee hasn’t even be a conversation let along a consideration. Amendment 5, were it to pass, would live long past the term of Florida’s next governor, but is especially instructive given our current race.
Andrew Gillum's cornerstone issues require, at a minimum, raising taxes on businesses by 41% in Florida. How would you personally react if you were tasked with doing the same amount of work but earned 41% less for it because of a new governor? That’s how businesses in Florida would react as well. The threat of radical policy shifts/tax increases would create a chilling effect on business in our state and certainly any looking to relocate or expand in it. Amendment 5 would help create greater stability and transparency on taxes generally in our state by requiring a two-thirds vote, rather than a 50% plus one vote, to impose higher taxes. In times of radical politicians potentially holding key offices in our state I fully support the passage of Amendment 5.