Opponents call Amendment 5 ‘grossly misleading’

Aug 8, 2008

Treasure Coast Palm--August 7, 2008

By Alex Leary / St. Petersburg Times

A broad coalition fighting Amendment 5 argued in court papers today that the proposal should be removed from the ballot because the summary is “grossly misleading” and does not fully describe all the changes that would occur.

“The reference to a limit on annual assessment of real property is, at best, ambiguous, likely to mislead some voters into thinking that it refers only to assessments for school funding and leaves others guessing as to the true reach,” Tallahassee lawyer Barry Richard argued in a filing today.

The paperwork comes in advance of a hearing in Leon County Circuit Court on Wednesday. Richard argues that the title summary voters will read at the polls in November refers to eliminating school property taxes and masks larger changes under the so-called tax swap.

“The amendment would not only eliminate the state requires school property tax, but would also cut in half the maximum millage available to local government for funding school purposes. The amendment would also cut in half the annual maximum increase in assessments by which local government could fund non-school purposes and would limit the subject mater of laws granting future exemptions. These are major changes in Florida’s organic law.”

The Coalition to Protect Florida’s Economy includes Associated Builders and Contractors of Florida; Association of Florida Community Developers; Associated Industries of Florida; Florida Association of the American Institute of Architects; Florida Association of District School Superintendents; Florida Association of Homes and Services for the Aging; Florida Association of Insurance Agents; Florida Association of School Administrators; Florida Chamber of Commerce; Florida Engineering Society; Florida Farm Bureau; Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association; Florida Health Care Association; Florida Hospital Association; Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants; Florida Life Care Residents Association; Florida Retail Federation; Florida School Boards Association; Florida United Businesses Association; Humana; Manufacturers Association of Florida; National Federation of Independent Business, Florida; and Printing Association of Florida.