Florida Bills Seek to Require Two-Thirds Majority for Passage of Sales Tax Referendums

Washington Free Beacon | 3/22/2019 | John Haughey - Watchdog.org
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A constitutional amendment adopted by voters in November requires a two-thirds majority of legislators in both chambers to approve a new state tax or a tax increase.

Meanwhile, taxpayers in 56 of Florida’s 67 counties, and in 19 school districts across the state, are paying $4.3 billion annually in "local option" sales tax levies to build schools, widen roads or finance mass transit projects.

Option - Sales - Tax - Increases - Referendums

Eight of 11 such "local option" sales tax increases were approved in referendums in 2018.

Florida Republicans say it is just too easy for local governments and school districts to persuade local taxpayers to tax themselves for projects and services they rarely need and often can’t afford.

Bills - Adoption - State - Lawmakers - Option

Two advancing bills seek to apply the same two-thirds adoption threshold that state lawmakers must secure to "local option" sales tax referendums and to prohibit "local option" sales tax referendums from being placed before voters in "special elections."

Senate Bill 336, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, was approved Wednesday by the Senate Finance & Tax Committee in a 6-2 vote.

SB - Referendum - Local-option - Increase - November

SB 336 would require any referendum to adopt or amend a "local-option" sales-tax increase appear only on November general election ballots.

The bill was approved on Feb. 13 by Senate Ethics & Elections Committee in a 5-2 vote. It now goes before the Rules Committee, the last stop before being presented for a chamber vote.

SB - Wednesday - Senate - Finance - Tax

In discussing SB 336 Wednesday before the Senate Finance & Tax Committee, Brandes noted the Florida League of Cities and Florida Association of Counties were not opposed to the bill.

"It always warms my heart to have the counties and the cities join me on a piece of legislation," he quipped. "It happens so rarely these days."

Brandes - Bill - Requirement - Projects - Option

Brandes said the bill could be tweaked to add a requirement that projects to be funded by "local option" sales tax hikes have clearly stated...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Washington Free Beacon
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