Vote 2012: Breakdown of the Amendments
Published October 26th, 2012
There are 11 constitutional amendments on the ballot in November.
Below is a brief description of each:
This amendment is really more of a referendum than a meaningful amendment.
It has to do with the federal government's right to impose the individual mandate of the Affordable Health Care Act.
Since the Supreme Court found that it is indeed constitutional, the vote on this amendment is purely a chance to send a message that most residents are either for or against AHA.
This amendment would allow disabled veterans who were not Florida residents at the time they entered military service to be eligible for an existing property tax discount.
The one downside of the passage of this amendment is that it would reduce property tax revenue for schools and local governments by $15 million over the next three years.
Florida has set a cap for the amount of revenue it can spend every year from taxes and fees earned on everything from gas and tobacco to auto titles and business licenses.
Any excess revenue above the cap goes into the state's rainy day fund.
The current cap is set using a complicated formula based on many things.
A vote YES would replace the current state revenue limitation with a new, more restrictive limitation based on population and inflation rather than income.
A vote NO would keep the current system and also protect the state's ability to provide the current level of government services.
This amendment would extend tax breaks to first-time homebuyers and property owners.
A vote YES would reduce local government revenue by cutting in half the taxable rate on non-homestead property and prohibiting increases in the assessed value of homestead property when the market value of that property decreases.
A vote NO maintains existing exemptions and prevents schools and local governments from losing an estimated $1 billion in property tax revenue over three years.
It alters the balance of power among the executive, judicial, and legislative branches of government.
The biggest impact is giving Senate confirmation power over appointees to the State Supreme Court.
Currently, the governor appoints a nominee.
A vote YES gives the Senate the power to affirm a Supreme Court nominee and allows the Legislature to repeal rules adopted by the Supreme Court by a simple majority rather than a two-thirds vote.
This amendment would prohibit spending public funds on abortions, following current federal law.
A vote YES means that Florida's constitutional right to privacy is not applicable to abortion-related issues and allows more restrictive abortion laws to be sought in state courts.
A vote NO keeps the laws and guidelines as they are currently.
AMENDMENT 7 (removed from ballot)
This amendment would repeal the 126-year-old provision in the Constitution prohibiting taxpayer funding of religious institutions.
The most important aspect concerns future school voucher programs.
A vote YES allows public money to go to private religious institutions.
A vote NO maintains the "no aid" provision in the Constitution.
It grants full homestead property tax relief to surviving spouses of military veterans and first responders who die while in service.
A vote YES grants full property tax relief to surviving spouses.
A vote NO maintains current exemptions and prevents local governments from losing a combined $600,000 in estimated property tax revenue annually.
This proposed amendment concerns taxes assessed on tangible personal property used in a business or to earn income.
We're talking about things like furniture, machinery, tools, signs and equipment.
Current law allows the first $25,000 of property to be exempt.
The amendment would raise the exemption to $50,000.
A vote YES would double the tax exemption on tangible property tax.
A vote NO would keep current limit in place and prevent local governments from losing $61 million in revenue over the next 3 years.
It authorizes cities and counties to grant full homestead property tax relief to seniors who have lived in their homes for at least 25 years and who make less than $27,030 annually.
A vote YES would grant the full homestead exemption to certain low-income seniors.
A vote NO would retain current exemptions and save a local government revenue loss of $18.5 million over the next 2 years.
This amendment concerns the Board of Governors of the State University System.
Currently, every state public university is part of the State University System.
Every university except FSU has a member on the Board of Governors.
That's because FSU prefers not to pay the FSA dues.
The amendment would have every school represented on the Board.
A vote YES creates a new council of student body presidents and would require all state universities to participate.
A vote NO keeps the current system in place.
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