A Circuit Court judge has removed a property tax cutting amendment from the November ballot after finding it misleading. The ballot summary for Amendment 5 promised schools would be held harmless but As Mike Vasilinda tells us, the judge found the amendment failed to live up to the at promise.
Amendment 5 promised to cut property taxes by a fourth. It did that by eliminating a portion of school taxes and replacing them with a yet to be determined source of funding or by budget cuts. The language voters would have seen promised schools would be held harmless, but the Judge John Cooper found the language misleading because the promise was only good for one year. The Florida Chamber was one of the parties that took the amendment to court.
“Property tax is an issue in the state of Florida,” David Daniel with the Florida Chamber said. “Everyone wants a 25 percent property tax cut. The problem is what is going to be taxed? And that is the question that was left unanswered by amendment five. So the problem with amendment five is the uncertainty it would create for both Florida business and the consumers.”
The battle is far from over, but the writing is on the wall.
The supporters of amendment five say they will appeal and that means the final decision will come from the Florida Supreme Court.
Governor Charlie Crist and Florida Realtors, have been pushing the amendment. They see it as a way to jumpstart the economy. After the ruling, the Governor expressed disappointment.
“It doesn’t mean anything. That’s why you appeal,” Crist said. “What really matters is, what the last ruling is, not the first one in any case.”
The Governor is already being asked to call lawmakers back to deal with property taxes. He says he’ll wait to see what the courts do.