ELECTION 2018: Florida voters to decide on two-thirds requirement for tax or fee increases

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 8/22/2018

Voters throughout the state of Florida this November will decide whether they want to make it more difficult for their legislators to increase taxes.

State law now mandates a simple majority of the Florida Legislature to enact new taxes or increase existing tax rates.

Amendment 5 on the fall ballot would require a two-thirds vote of legislators in both statehouse chambers to enact new taxes or increase existing tax rates. The change would amend the state’s Constitution.

Passage of the amendment on the Nov. 6 ballot would require 60 percent approval by voters.

The change is supported by Gov. Rick Scott. During his state-of-the-state address early this year he called on state lawmakers to pass the proposed constitutional amendment. The state House followed through on a 80-29 vote on House Joint Resolution 7001. Senate lawmakers followed suit on a 25-13 vote.

Advocates say the supermajority requirement would likely require more than party-line support to get tax increases enacted.

Critics say there is no need for a higher threshold. Instead, they say the current majority requirement is sufficient.

If approved by voters, Florida would become the 16th state to require a supermajority vote for at least some tax increases, according to Ballotpedia.org. Seven states require a two-thirds vote to enact or increase taxes. Five states have a three-fifth majority requirement while three states mandate a three-fourths threshold.

The Florida rule would be applied to taxes that include sales, fuel, alcohol, and driver’s licenses.

The requirement would not be applied to fees or taxes collected by a county, municipality, school board or special district. Taxes or fees increased during times of emergency would also be exempt.

Florida residents can access online registration and absentee voting requirements.

For more 2018 election coverage from Land Line, click here.



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