Florida State Revenue Limitation, Amendment 3 (2012)

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Amendment 3
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Type:Constitutional amendment
Constitution:Article VII and Article XII
Referred by:Florida State Legislature
Topic:State budgets
The Florida State Revenue Limitation, called Amendment 3, also known as SJR 958 and "Smart Cap," was on the November 6, 2012, state ballot in Florida as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was defeated.[1]

The measure proposed replacing existing revenue limits with a new limitation based on inflation and population change. Any funds that exceed the revenue limits would have been be placed in the state's "rainy day fund." Once the fund reached 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.[2][3]

The proposed measure required 60 percent voter approval for adoption.[4]

Election results

See also: 2012 ballot measure election results

Florida Amendment 3
Defeatedd No4,346,74057.56%
Yes 3,204,350 42.44%

These results are certified and final.

Results via the Florida Department of Election's website.

Text of measure

The official ballot text read as follows:[5]



STATE GOVERNMENT REVENUE LIMITATION.—This proposed amendment to the State Constitution replaces the existing state revenue limitation based on Florida personal income growth with a new state revenue limitation based on inflation and population changes. Under the amendment, state revenues, as defined in the amendment, collected in excess of the revenue limitation must be deposited into the budget stabilization fund until the fund reaches its maximum balance, and thereafter shall be used for the support and maintenance of public schools by reducing the minimum financial effort required from school districts for participation in a state-funded education finance program, or, if the minimum financial effort is no longer required, returned to the taxpayers. The Legislature may increase the state revenue limitation through a bill approved by a super majority vote of each house of the Legislature. The Legislature may also submit a proposed increase in the state revenue limitation to the voters. The Legislature must implement this proposed amendment by general law. The amendment will take effect upon approval by the electors and will first apply to the 2014-2015 state fiscal year.


See also: Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR)

The proposed legislation was modeled after Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights which limited state revenue using a formula based on population growth and inflation. The measure was approved in Colorado in 1992. In 2000 an amendment to Amendment 23 required education spending to increase and in 2005 voters approved a ballot measure that loosened many of TABOR's restrictions. However, in 2008 voters rejected Colorado Initiative 126, also known as Amendment 59, which would have extended the 2005 amendment past it's 2010 date.


Senate President Mike Haridopolos is, reportedly, a long-time supporter of "Smart Cap." On February 24, 2011, he said, "Florida’s families are forced to spend their money responsibly and so should state government. 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."[2]


Opponents include groups like the AARP and the League of Women Voters. Jack McRay of the AARP said the proposed revenue cap could prevent government services from keeping up with demand.[6]

On March 2, 2011 the League of Women Voters officially announced their opposition to SJR 958. "The League has opposed this bill since it was first introduced in Florida in 2008. TABOR has been brought up and defeated in more than twenty states; the only state to pass TABOR is Colorado," said the league.[7][8]

Campaign contributions

It was reported by the Orlando Sentinel on October 1, 2012, that a California community organizing group called the PICO National Network has donated over $367,000 to a "No on 3″ political action committee.[9]

Path to the ballot

See also: Florida law for legislatively-referred constitutional amendments

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. On March 15, 2011 the Senate voted 27-13 in favor of the proposed measure.[10][11] On May 4, 2011 the House voted 78-40 in favor of referring the proposed measure to the statewide ballot.[12][13][4]



The following is a timeline of events surrounding the measure:

Event Date Developments
Vote Mar. 15, 2011 Florida State Senate voted in favor of measure, 27 to 13.
Vote May 2, 2011 Florida House of Representatives voted 78 to 40 in favor of the measure.

See also

Similar measures


External links

Additional reading