September 24, 2007
AIF has just been informed that Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Francis threw out the Legislature’s property tax amendment on the basis that the ballot language was misleading.
The challenge was filed by City of Weston Mayor Eric Hersh. Judge Charles A. Francis wrote: "Try as this court has, and having considered all memoranda and argument presented to the court and having read, reread, examined and studied the ballot summary under review, the court cannot find that the language is clear, concise, unambiguous and fair. The language at issue is misleading and confusing, and does not provide fair notice to the voter, educated or otherwise, of the purpose and effect of the proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution."
The state did prevail in arguing that the Legislature had the right to impose the tax limitations under the statutory rollback already in effect. This issue was not addressed by Judge Francis.
It is unclear how legislative leaders will respond, but we expect that an appeal will most likely follow this decision by Judge Francis.