2022 Proposed Ballot Amendments

LPF review and recommendation

On November 8th, voters will be asked to support or oppose 3 different Amendments to the Florida Constitution. For an amendment to pass the ballot, it must get 60% approval from the voters.

 

There are five ways to get a proposed amendment on the statewide ballot: (1) joint resolution by the Florida Legislature; (2) Florida Constitution Revision Commission; (3) Citizens’ Initiative; (4) Constitutional Convention; and (5) Florida Taxation and Budget Reform Commission.

 

All three amendments were placed on the ballot by the Florida Legislature.

 

AMENDMENT 1 “LIMITATION ON THE ASSESSMENT OF REAL PROPERTY USED FOR RESIDENTIAL PURPOSES.”

Ballot Summary

“Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution, effective January 1, 2023, to authorize the Legislature, by general law, to prohibit the consideration of any change or improvement made to real property used for residential purposes to improve the property’s resistance to flood damage in determining the assessed value of such property for ad valorem taxation purposes.”

LPF Explanation

If passed, Amendment 1 would revise the Florida Constitution to allow the state legislature to enact statutes to exempt flood mitigation improvements to residential property from increasing the assessed value of the property. Currently, any such improvements can increase a residential property’s assessed value, thereby an increase in the annual property tax cost on that property. 

Florida’s state constitution currently allows property tax exemptions for wind damage protection improvements to properties. Since hurricanes tend to destroy properties by both wind and flood damage, extending property tax exemptions to flood damage protection improvements makes sense.

Fiscal Impact

A 2021 Florida Senate staff analysis said the proposed constitutional amendment would reduce local government property-tax revenues by $5.8 million during the 2023-2024 fiscal year, with the amount growing to $25.1 million annually. The tax dollars that would have gone to the government now will stay with the property owner.

Libertarian Party of Florida Platform

VI Paying for Government

  1. End Taxing Favoritism. As long as we have taxes, equal protection of the law requires that for each type of tax, the rates should be the same and the tax base should be calculated in the same way for every individual or business. There should be no abatements, subsidies, credits, refunds, or other preferential treatments as incentives to businesses to invest or create jobs, or as a privilege to individuals or classes of individuals, such as age, race, or location. Such tax favoritism should be unconstitutional.

LPF recommends voting Yes on Amendment 1. The flood mitigation exemption is available to all residential homeowners and does not grant preferential treatment. Amendment 1 does not violate the LPF Platform on Taxes.   

 

AMENDMENT 2 “ABOLISHING THE CONSTITUTION REVISION COMMISSION.”

Ballot Summary

“Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to abolish the Constitution Revision Commission, which meets at 20-year intervals and is scheduled to next convene in 2037, as a method of submitting proposed amendments or revisions to the State Constitution to electors of the state for approval. This amendment does not affect the ability to revise or amend the State Constitution through citizen initiative, constitutional convention, the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission, or legislative joint resolution.”

LPF Explanation

If passed, Amendment 2 would repeal the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC). In 1968, Florida Voters approved a Constitutional Ballot Amendment that created the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC).

The CRC is a 37-member commission that meets every 20 years. The CRC sets its own rules and procedures, and the members of the Commission are appointed by the Governor, House Speaker, Senate President, and Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court. The CRC is required to meet with the public all across the state and thus is more likely to hear public input outside of the Tallahassee.

Florida is the only state with a commission that can refer constitutional amendments to the ballot for voter approval or denial. This enables the public to get things on the ballot without the huge expense of petitions or being manipulated by the Legislature.

When the CRC met in 1997-98, it placed the ballot access amendment that we have today guaranteeing ballot access for all political parties as a right. While the CRC has produced some good, it has also had controversy. When the CRC last met in 2017-18, they proposed 7 amendments with multiple issues bundled in one amendment. This bundling led to voter confusion and voter dilemma on voting yes or no when a voter might have liked one part of an Amendment, but not the other. On the other hand, the Legislature can only place single-issue Amendments on the ballot. This ballot measure is clearly designed to ensure only the Legislature can have the right to place amendments on the ballot which serves no one but them. The CRC could in fact be the only official body to reign in the ever expanding government power by the state of Florida.

Fiscal Impact

Minimal fiscal impact. Constitution Revision Commission members are not paid, and the Commission only meets every 20 years.

Libertarian Party of Florida Platform

  1. STATE GOVERNMENT
  2. Sunset Amendment. We support a systematic review and sunsetting of laws, regulations, and administrative guidance that do not meet the stated intent of the elected officials at the time of writing.

LPF recommends voting No on Amendment 2. The bottom line is the CRC is the only way to place a amendment on the ballot that is not controlled by the legislature or the courts. While the CRC member appointment process is highly political and influenced by special interests, it has proven useful to the public.

 

AMENDMENT 3 “ADDITIONAL HOMESTEAD PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION FOR SPECIFIED CRITICAL PUBLIC SERVICES WORKFORCE.”

Ballot Summary

“Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to authorize the Legislature, by general law, to grant an additional homestead tax exemption for non-school levies of up to $50,000 of the assessed value of homestead property owned by classroom teachers, law enforcement officers, correctional officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, child welfare services professionals, active-duty members of the United States Armed Forces, and Florida National Guard members. This amendment shall take effect January 1, 2023.”

LPF Explanation

If passed, Amendment 3 would increase the homestead exemption for teachers, law-enforcement officers, correctional officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, child-welfare services professionals, and active-duty members of the military and Florida National Guard.

Under current law, homeowners can qualify for homestead exemptions on the first $25,000 of the appraised property value. They also can qualify for $25,000 homestead exemptions on the value between $50,000 and $75,000. Any higher property value is taxable.

Under the proposal, homeowners in the targeted occupations could receive an additional $50,000 exemption, which would apply to the property value between $100,000 and $150,000.

The additional $50,000 exemption does not apply to property taxes collected for school districts.

Fiscal Impact

Amendment 3 is projected to save $80.9 million for the targeted property owners next fiscal year, with the annual savings growing to $93.6 million in five years. If you are not employed in any of Amendment 3’s targeted occupations, your taxes stay the same or may increase. The Revenue Estimating Conference estimated that approval of the amendment would reduce local property tax revenue (except school district tax revenue) by $85.9 million beginning in Fiscal Year 2023-2024.

History shows local government elected officials rarely reduce costs and with a segment of the community receiving special tax treatment, the elected officials could raise other taxes to capture back the lost revenue from this Amendment.  

Also, The Florida State Legislature passed House Bill 1563, which would take effect if the voters approve Amendment 3. The bill provides for annual appropriations from the state legislature to fiscally constrained counties to offset the reductions in county tax revenue from amendments to the state constitution. Currently, there are twenty-nine “Fiscally Constrained Counties” in Florida. This means an annual increase in the state budget to reimburse those twenty-nine counties.

Libertarian Party of Florida Platform

VI Paying for Government

  1. End Taxing Favoritism. As long as we have taxes, equal protection of the law requires that for each type of tax, the rates should be the same and the tax base should be calculated in the same way for every individual or business. There should be no abatements, subsidies, credits, refunds, or other preferential treatments as incentives to businesses to invest or create jobs, or as a privilege to individuals or classes of individuals, such as age, race, or location. Such tax favoritism should be unconstitutional.

LPF recommends voting NO on Amendment 3. This Amendment would grant preferential tax benefits to a certain class of individuals. Amendment 3 violates the LPF Platform on Taxes. 

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