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WUSF News Staff
Thu October 4, 2012
Teachers Gather to Protest Amendment 3 to Florida Constitution
We won't just get to elect the next president on the November ballot. In Florida, eleven amendments to the state constitution will be up for vote - and they all were put there by lawmakers in Tallahassee. A group of teachers are opposing one of the amendments, saying it would hurt public schools.
They call themselves "No on Three," the three being Amendment Three. It's a group of teachers, parents and other community leaders who fear the measure would end up starving public schools of money.
Hillsborough School board member April Griffin says it would remove the burden of raising taxes from the Florida legislature, and push that responsibility down to local boards - such as county commissions and school boards.
"If services need to be cut - say sports in schools - then we're the ones that are going to have to make those difficult decisions to raise taxes and to impose fees on the public," says Griffin. "I think that it's kind of the coward's way out."
The amendment would place a limit on how much revenue the state could collect, based on inflation and if Florida's population increases. Here's the description provided by the Florida Department of Elections:
This proposed amendment to the State Constitution replaces the existing state revenue limitation based on Florida personal income growth with a new state revenue limitation based on inflation and population changes. Under the amendment, state revenues, as defined in the amendment, collected in excess of the revenue limitation must be deposited into the budget stabilization fund until the fund reaches its maximum balance, and thereafter shall be used for the support and maintenance of public schools by reducing the minimum financial effort required from school districts for participation in a state-funded education finance program, or, if the minimum financial effort is no longer required, returned to the taxpayers. The Legislature may increase the state revenue limitation through a bill approved by a super majority vote of each house of the Legislature. The Legislature may also submit a proposed increase in the state revenue limitation to the voters. The Legislature must implement this proposed amendment by general law. The amendment will take effect upon approval by the electors and will first apply to the 2014-2015 state fiscal year.
You can also look at an analysis of all 11 proposed Constitutional amendments from the James Madison Institute, a Florida-based research and educational organization.