Florida Senators prepare to review "Smart Cap" revenue amendment

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February 28, 2011

Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Florida: A state revenue limitation amendment, also known as the "Smart Cap," is headed to the Senate following approval by Rules Committee on February 24.

The legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, modeled on Colorado's Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR), proposes replacing existing revenue limits with a new limitation based on inflation and population change. Any funds that exceed the revenue limits would be placed in the state's "rainy day fund." Once the fund reaches 10% of the prior year's total budget the Florida State Legislature would be required to vote to either provide tax relief or reduce property taxes.[1]

Opponents argue that the TABOR-style measure is too rigid. Jack McRay of the AARP said the proposed revenue cap could prevent government services from keeping up with demand.[2] However, Senate President Mike Haridopolos argues that the proposed measure is more flexible and less restrictive than other versions.

"Historically government has spent more when times are good and then been forced to make dramatic cuts when the economy takes a downturn. The ‘Smart Cap’ amendment ensures the state budget doesn’t grow beyond a family’s ability to pay for it," said Haridopolos[3]

In order to qualify for the November 2012 ballot the proposed amendment requires approval by a minimum of 60% in the both the House and the Senate. If approved the measure would be referred to the 2012 ballot.

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