A proposed constitutional amendment that ties state revenue collections to growth easily passed its first House committee on Wednesday despite concerns from some Republican members who supported it, but questioned whether the proposal was necessary, reports the News Service of Florida. By a 16-7 vote, the House Finance and Tax Committee passed a measure (PCB FTC 11-02), commonly referred to as a Taxpayers?Bill of Rights. If approved by voters, it would limit state revenue growth to inflation and population growth following a phase-in period. The proposal is similar to a Colorado initiative that has been temporarily mothballed as that state deals with budget shortfalls. Backers of the Florida proposal say it will ensure fiscal constraint from lawmakers who regardless of party affiliation can? seem to control themselves. Critics call the proposal a simplistic and shortsighted initiative that will degrade spending on schools and services that bring potential businesses into the state. The Senate version (SJR 958) passed the Senate and is awaiting action in the House. The Legislature is already constrained by a constitutional spending cap, but backers of the new way of calculating a cap say the current one isn? stringent enough.
Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.