Pledging to make it harder for future lawmakers to raise taxes, and surrounded by a bevy of Republican Florida lawmakers, Gov. Rick Scott pledged to push a Constitutional amendment to require a supermajority for such increases.
At an announcement at the Verizon Florida headquarters in Lake Mary, Scott said the amendment to require 60 percent votes on tax increases could come from either the Florida Legislature or the Florida Constitution Revision Commission, to be placed on the 2018 ballot.
He’ll likely have full support of the Florida Legislature’s Republican leadership. He was joined in his call Monday by House Speaker Richard Corcoran, House Ways and Means Committee chair Paul Renner and seven other Republican members of the Florida House, most from Central Florida.
Scott also said he called Senate President Joe Negron, but that the Palm City Republican was unable to attend his announcement.
“My goal is to make it harder for elected politicians to raise taxes on Florida families and businesses,” Scott said. “And that can be achieved with an amendment to the state constitution. This Legislature has shown they are absolutely committed to tax and fee decreases.
“I want to make sure to get this on the ballot so you’ll never see your taxes go up again without people taking the time to make sure that it’s something well thought out,” Scott added.
Corcoran expressed confidence that if the measure reaches the ballot Florida voters will approve it.
“All too often as we see it sometimes on the national level, it’s easier to raise taxes or fees than it is to make tough decisions on what is right and best for the people,” Corcoran said.
“This proposal says we’re going to make it really, really difficult to go back to the time when we had high unemployment and no jobs and people were struggling, and we’re going to recognize that what’s at stake, who’s really at the heart of this, is when you’ve got single moms out there who are working two jobs, trying to make ends meet, put food on the table for their kids, and trying to give them a world-class education, you can’t just go willy-nilly and raise those people’s taxes and not think it’s not going to have a dramatic affect on them,” Corcoran said.
Left uncertain is whether the amendment would apply only to the Florida Legislature or might apply to all Florida governments, including cities and counties. A governor’s staffer suggested it most likely would apply only to the Legislature, but others weren’t so certain.
Since the amendment is not drafted – by either the CRC or the Legislature – the prospect may remain one to be decided later.
Republican state Rep. Bob Cortes of Longwood suggested it might cover local governments. He said that likely would receive pushback from local governments that express frequent frustration at Tallahassee’s restrictions on the Home Rule paradigm but would be needed.