The Florida Senate today passed a joint resolution that will put on the November ballot a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds vote by each house of the Legislature to approve any new state tax or fee, increase an existing state tax or fee or eliminate any state tax expenditure. This ill-advised measure is a sure prescription for a poor future for Florida’s families and economy.”
Florida already provides less support for public services than any other state, as measured by total state expenditures per capita, and lawmakers consistently shortchange public education, health care, affordable housing and other investments that drive economic growth.
If this threshold is approved in November, lawmakers’ hands would be tied during an economic crisis, when revenue is desperately needed. Imagine what would happen after the next hurricane or during the next economic recession, when the demand for services increases and the revenue to address them lags. In 1992, Oklahoma voters approved a supermajority threshold for tax increases, and since that time, state lawmakers have not once cleared the required vote hurdle, even in severe budgetary emergencies.
Further, although the proposal would not subject local taxes and fees to the supermajority-vote requirement, local governments could also be harmed if state lawmakers are unable to raise revenue. Roughly 60 percent of all revenues in Florida that fund school districts for PreK-12 education come from state coffers.
The measure would put our state and families at risk.