Here is another follow up on the proposed ammendment as reported by the Citrus County Chronicle on September 29th, 2007. For more up to date information go to www.floridarealtors.org, scroll down the page to 2007 Legislative top initiatives and click on Property-tax-reform toolkit for the most up to date information surrounding the PROPOSED ammendment Wording of referendum must be fixed Sept. 29, 2007 -- A judge ruled Monday that the Florida Legislature’s tax-reduction amendment that was scheduled to appear on the January presidential primary ballot is unconstitutional. The judge’s decision means that unless there are corrective measures taken, voters will not be given the opportunity to vote on the issue. The referendum would give citizens the right to create a “super-exemption” that would provide tax relief to homeowners who have been crushed by rising real estate valuations in Florida. The problem with the referendum is with the ballot language that was approved. Circuit Judge Charles A. Francis of Tallahassee ruled the wording was confusing and inaccurate. While it’s a confusing issue, there is an answer here. There is still plenty of time to rewrite the wording for the referendum and comply with the judge’s interpretation. The Florida Legislature is about to go into a special session, and the time could be set aside to do the rewrite. Gov. Charlie Crist and the legislative leadership made tax reform a key component of their 2006 election. Here’s where the leadership is needed. The governor, Senate president and speaker of the House need to get together, analyze the judge’s ruling, and develop wording on the amendment that fits the judge’s guidelines. The bottom line is that voters should be given the opportunity to control how government spends its money. The current inequities in our property tax system have created a backlash of anguish from homeowners and business people. The amendment is a complicated piece of legislation, but we have confidence that the voters are smart enough to figure it out if it’s presented in a fair way. While we’re not endorsing the change in the tax system at this time, we are endorsing the right of the people to determine their own future. Our elected officials should make the needed changes in the wording and get the referendum back on the January ballot.
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