2012 Florida Constitutional Amendments
This year if you are planning on voting in the November 6th election you will be faced with voting on 12 separate Florida amendments. We are going to sum up the amendments and then tell you what voting yes or no means.
Health Care Services: Amendment 1
What is it: More of a political referendum than more of a change to the Constitution. Amendment 1 would prohibit government from requiring individuals to purchase health insurance.
If you vote Yes: Language will be added to constitution including provisions that could be found unconstitutional preventing penalties for not purchasing health care coverage.
If you vote No : Florida should comply with federal health care reform requirements.
Veterans Disability: Amendment 2
What is it: Allows property tax discounts for vets that were disabled as a result of combat that were not Florida residents when entered into military. Would eliminate following fourth requirement 1) current Florida resident 2) 65 or older 3) disabled in combat 4) Florida resident when entered into military.
If you vote Yes: Gives vets who were not Floridians when enrolled in military existing homestead tax exemption. will reduce property taxes for schools and local government by an estimated $15 million combined for first three years and then $7.6 million thereafter.
If you vote No : Would not grant the exemption or above listed funds.
State Government Revenue Limitation: Amendment 3
What is it: Will replace current revenue limitations that are based on a personal income calculation method with a new method based on inflation and population growth.
If you vote Yes: Replaces current method with method based on inflation and population growth.
If you vote No : Maintains existing revenue limitations based on a personal income growth, preserves Legislature’s flexibility in responding to economic changes and budgetary concerns.
Property Tax Limitation: Amendment 4
What is it: Extends tax breaks to property owners and first time homebuyer, reduces the cap on annual increases on taxable value of non-homestead properties from 10 to 5 percent, prevents assessed value of homestead and certain non-homestead properties from increasing if market value of property decreases from previous year.
If you vote Yes: Implements above. Prevents schools and local government from losing an estimated 1 billion in property tax revenue over three years.
If you vote No : Maintain existing tax exemptions. Will reduce local government revenue by cutting taxable rate on non homesteaded property (commercial) in half.
State Courts: Amendment 5
What is it: Altars balance of power among all branches of the government. Gives law makers control over changes to court system rules.
If you vote Yes: Gives Florida Senate confirmation power over Supreme Court appointees.
If you vote No : Maintains current method of selecting justices for the Florida Supreme Court.
Prohibition on Public Funding of Abortions: Amendment 6
What is it: Prohibits public funding for abortions.
If you vote Yes: Puts federal ban on use of public funds for abortions. Will allow for more restrictive abortion laws to be found constitutional in Florida courts.
If you vote No : Continues Florida’s constitutional right to privacy.
Religious Freedom: Amendment 8
What is it: Repeals the 126-year-old Florida Constitution provision that prohibits taxpayer funding of religious instructions.
If you vote Yes: Repeals “no aid” provision and replaces it with a provision that allows public funds to go towards religious sectors.
If you vote No : Does not allow public dollars to go towards religious sectors. Continues to have church and state separate as defined by Constitution in 1885
Homestead Property Tax Exemption: Amendment 9
What is it: Grants total and partial homestead property tax exemption to surviving spouses of military veterans, police firefighters and other first responders who died in line of duty.
If you vote Yes: State grants property tax exemption to the spouses of above mentioned personnel
If you vote No : Denies above listed exemptions and prevents local government from losing $600,000 in estimated property tax revenues over course of a year.
Taxable Personal Property Tax Exemption: Amendment 10
What is it: Boosts tangible personal property tax exemption to $500,000 and allows government to increase exemption.
If you vote Yes: Doubles tax exemption on tangible personal property. Reduces local tax revenue across Florida by approximately $61 million.
If you vote No : Current tax rate would remain the current tax rate.
Additional Homestead Exemption; Low Income Seniors: Amendment 11
What is it: Grants full homestead property tax relief to low income seniors who have been residents in their home for more than 25 years.
If you vote Yes: Authorizes municipalities and counties to give full grants to these low income seniors.
If you vote No : Retains current property taxes for seniors, prevents government from granting estimated $18.5 million in tax revenues over two years. ___________________________________________________________________________________
Appointment of Student Body President to Board of Governors of State University System: Amendment 12
What is it: Changes way state selects student representative on state university systems Board of Governors, overseeing university system.
If you vote Yes: State will implement new council of university student presidents from which student representative to Board of Governors will be chosen.
If you vote No : Does not allow implementation of creation of new council of student body presidents.
Information was provided by:
League of women Voters of Florida Education Fund – 2012 Special Edition Voter Guide, Florida Division of Elections, BallotPedia, League of Women Voters of Florida, Online Sunshine: The 2011 Florida Statutes, Florida Business Watch, and the Florida Local Government Coalition