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Florida House Plan Would Make Tax Hikes Harder

Florida Capitol Building in Tallahassee. Source: WikiMedia Commons
Florida Capitol Building in Tallahassee. Source: WikiMedia Commons

Florida House members got moving this week on an election-year proposal that would make it harder for future lawmakers to raise taxes.

The Republican-dominated House Ways & Means Committee, voting along party lines, backed a plan that would ask voters in November 2018 to pass a constitutional amendment requiring approval from two-thirds “supermajorities” of the state House and Senate to raise taxes and fees in the future.

Currently, tax and fee hikes can be approved by simple majorities of 50 percent plus one.

Governor Rick Scott, who is widely expected to run for U.S. Senate in November 2018, made a rare appearance before the House committee to lobby for the measure a nearly $180 million package of tax and fee cuts he introduced Monday.

“We have cut taxes 75 times,” said Scott. “We’ll cut taxes again this year. What happens if you do it is you end up with more revenue. I think our general revenues are up 36 percent since I got elected.”

If lawmakers go along with the proposal, it would need support from 60 percent of voters during the November 2018 election to pass.

Asked if there was a concern the proposal could tie lawmakers' hands in generating revenue during a future downturn, Scott replied that “you shouldn't raise them anytime, but it's even worse for a family when they're struggling.”