Florida State Revenue Limitation, Amendment 3 (2012)

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

The measure 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.[2][3]

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

Background

See also: Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR)

The proposed legislation is 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.

Support

Senate President Mike Haridopolos is 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]

Opposition

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.[5]

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.[6][7]

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. [8][9] On May 4, 2011 the House voted 78-40 in favor of referring the proposed measure to the statewide ballot.[10][11][4]

Timeline

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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

By Bailey Ludlam
Ballot measure writer

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