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First DCA "Deauthorizes" Tax Panel

September 19, 2002

The First District Court of Appeal has ordered Amendment No. 5 struck from November’s ballot.

 Amendment No. 5 would create a panel of six senators and six representatives who would have the power to recommend “deauthorization” — or repeal, in plainer English — of exemptions and exclusions from the state’s sales and use tax, and other transactional taxes. If the amendment were approved by the voters, the recommendations of the panel would become effective unless the full legislature took action to vote against those recommendations; the governor would have no power of veto over the panel’s work. In other words, a mere 12 members of the legislature could impose new taxes on Floridians.

 The court accepted the argument of opponents of the amendment that the ballot summary did not completely and accurately describe the effect of the amendment. The summary, which would have appeared on the ballot, did not clearly indicate that the panel had the power to enact tax increases without the acquiescence of the full legislature and the governor.

 Proponents of the measure have until 9:00 a.m. tomorrow (September 19) to file an appeal, with the opponents’ rebuttal of any appeal due by 3:00 that afternoon.

 This decision, however, spells a likely death knell to Amendment No. 5 since the Supreme Court has already declined jurisdiction.

 To read the full decision, point your browser to http://www.1dca.org/opinion/main.htm, and click on the link for opinion number 1D02-3387.