Thread: Election: Amendment quick review
10-26-2006, 01:42 PM #1
Election: Amendment quick review
The below amendment review was provided to me by a trusted friend and I plan to use it as a guide when I vote.
I have not decided how I will vote yet on the amendments so I would be happy to read other input.
"First of all, five of the six amendments were put on the ballot by the legislature, and just one by citizen initiative – #4.
Amendment 1 would establish a Budget Commission that would study the state’s long-range finances, hold public hearings, and issue a long-range planning document every two years, to advise the legislature; and it would allow the budget to be adjusted in small ways without the whole legislature having to vote on it, all of which is probably good. It also would limit the amount of nonrecurring funds – fees and other revenues – to be used for recurring expenses to 3%. People who have studied this issue say that is way too high a percentage, that recurring expenses should be paid for out of recurring tax revenues. However, it’s a much lower figure than what the state has been doing. (I’ll probably vote YES on this one.)
Amendments 2 and 5 were tossed out by the Supreme Court so they’re not on the ballot.
Amendment 3 is the worst proposal of the bunch. It would take power away from the citizens by requiring a 60% majority instead of 50% to get an amendment passed. Very few that have been added in recent years would have made it with a 60% requirement, including the reduced class-size amendment of a few years back. Only 24 states now allow citizens to propose amendments, and this would cut back our chances of being heard. So be sure to vote NO on #3.
Amendment 4 is the single one proposed by citizens and has to do with the settlement money Florida receives from Big Tobacco from a lawsuit several years ago. The legislature used to use this money to a great extent to combat the tobacco lobby’s influence in such areas as trying to get young people to start smoking, but over the years they started putting most of the money in the general fund. This calls for 15% of Florida’s tobacco settlement payments to go into a Statewide Tobacco Education and Prevention Program every year instead of the general fund. (I plan to vote YES on this one.)
Amendment 6 is quite limited. It would increase the homestead exemption for low-income senior citizens from $25,000 to $50,000. (YES)
Amendment 7 would give a discount on property taxes for permanently disabled veterans 65 and older, with several other qualifications. Would not affect very many people. (YES)
Amendment 8 deals with eminent domain, saying that could not be used to take private property and turn it over to a private entity. This sounds good at first until you realize that Florida already has a law that says the same thing. All the amendment does is give the legislature an out: the ability to approve such transactions with a three-fifths majority of both houses, something the law does not allow. (I plan to vote NO.)"