Friday, September 28, 2012

Florida: Vote NO On All 11 Amendments

In yesterday's post I tried to break down all 11 amendments to the Florida Constitution that appear on the ballot into plain English eliminating as much legalese as possible. It took several hours of reading, re-reading, and research to accomplish this feat.

Imagine the confusion at the polling place when voters get a look at this ballot disaster for the first time?

Now, the rest of the story (thank you Paul Harvey).

What I did not say yesterday was this: When I first read through my downloaded copy of a sample ballot, my first inclination was to vote YES on several amendments based upon their titles. I mean, who would be against a property tax limitation, a disabled veterans property tax discount, an exemption for surviving spouses or first responders?

The amendment seeming to support religious freedom was always a NO; although on the surface, for the uninformed this might sound like a good idea. It is a real bad idea unless you want your tax dollars going to any and all religious organizations. This would be on top of their existing tax exemptions. This amendment has nothing to do with religious freedom!

The ambiguous wording of all eleven amendments is a blatant attempt by the Republican dominated Florida legislature to cram their agenda items down the throats of unsuspecting, ill informed voters. And, based upon past voting trends in Florida, it probably will work.

In today's Tampa Bay Times, Deidre MacNab, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida, had this to say: [These amendments] "attack our balance of power, separation of church and state and propose huge tax loopholes for out-of-state second-homeowners."

MacNab went on to say, "By all means examine the language, but at the end of the day, shouldn't tax exemptions for deserving people like disabled veterans be contained in regular statutory law and not in our governing document, the Florida Constitution?" The same argument can be made for the surviving spouses amendment.

The bottom line is this - if you take these eleven amendments at face value you will probably be voting against your own best interests. But, isn't that what the legislature intended to begin with?

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