Lots of us did. Tons of Florida bloggers warned that Amendment 1, passed last year by overwhelming margins, wouldn't save taxpayers much money and would cause huge service cuts, and not enough people listened. As a result, we have layoffs and service cuts across the board--police departments aren't replacing cops who leave the service, schools aren't replacing teachers who leave, and so on. Fortunately, people are starting to notice that a tax cut has some negative sides as well.
TALLAHASSEE - Chris and Debbie Oerly never expected to save much from the Amendment 1 property tax plan voters passed overwhelmingly last January — but they didn't expect to be hurt.I'm glad they've realized that the solution isn't more tax cuts, because the last Amendment was tiny compared to the one we have facing us this year. Charlie Crist and his buddies in the no-tax crowd want to slash property taxes by a quarter, and replace a fraction of that revenue with a one-cent sales tax increase. He wants to do this in an economy where unemployment is still on the rise, and where state agencies, including education, which gets a major piece of that property tax money scheduled to be cut, have already been slashed to the bone.
Then Debbie Oerly lost her job this summer as an elementary school paraprofessional when the Orange County School District slashed its budget, partly because of the tax cuts.
Chris Oerly's property appraisal business has been slow because of still-slumping housing sales. Now, local authorities are considering hiking property tax rates — a move that would eat up much of the Oerlys' roughly $200 in tax savings promised by Amendment 1.
So the idea of voting for another heavily promoted property tax amendment doesn't have a lot of appeal to them.
Fortunately, the Oerlys aren't alone.
A Florida Chamber of Commerce survey of 1,600 registered voters released Tuesday found only 40 percent supported the concept, while 40 percent opposed it. Constitutional amendments require 60-percent approval to pass.40-40 with 20% undecided might seem like a tossup, but the amendment needs 60% to pass, which means that this far out from the election, the pro-Amendment side has to get everyone who is left, while we basically have to hold on to what we have, maybe gain a point or two just to be safe.
I feel good about this issue now, because when it comes to people voting themselves a tax decrease, I generally assume they won't see the big picture. It looks like that has changed a little, at least for now.
This is Amendment Five, but the ballot will be chock full of crappy amendments this year. I'll spend some time on the especially bad ones as the political season moves along.