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Why We Need Amendment 8

By: Dominic M. Calabro
By: Dominic M. Calabro

A Florida TaxWatch report by Center for Educational Performance and Accountability estimates the potential benefits and cost-savings of proposed Amendment 8 on the November 2, 2010 ballot.

Amendment 8 is the right choice for the state, its education system, and Floridians. Future projected spending on compliance with the original Class Size Reduction requirements is much too high, both in terms of its small return on investment, impact on student achievement, and the state’s current budget outlook. Continuing on this path, Floridians will be faced with tax increases to finance the ballooning costs of compliance with the strict requirements under the current Class Size Reduction Amendment -- tax increases that have already been seen in Broward, Orange, and Manatee counties.

A Florida TaxWatch report by Center for Educational Performance and Accountability estimates the potential benefits and cost-savings of proposed Amendment 8 on the November 2, 2010 ballot, which would modify the requirements under the 2002 Class Size Reduction Amendment. This analysis has shown that spending on current compliance requirements could average $4 billion annually over the next ten years or, equivocally, the cost of compliance with the original requirements going forward is roughly equal to a one penny increase in the state sales tax or a new 1% state personal income tax.

Passage of Amendment 8 would create estimated savings of $350 million – $1 billion annually, which could be used to fund a variety of critical services related to education, such as retaining the best teachers and principals and other initiatives to better impact student achievement while providing the flexibility and balance to reduce implementation costs and still ensure our class sizes are reasonable. During these difficult fiscal times, Amendment 8 could help avoid further cuts to vital, core services, including other areas of education spending by saving billions of dollars over the next 10 years.

For the full report, go to www.FloridaTaxWatch.org/research.
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