Florida justices to weigh tax-trading proposal

Chris Rizo Aug. 19, 2008, 12:18pm

Florida Supreme Court building

TALLAHASEE, Fla. (Legal Newsline)-The Florida Supreme Court will hear a challenge to a proposed ballot measure that would trade a significant property tax cut for increases in other taxes.

On Tuesday, the 1st District Court of Appeal advanced the challenge directly to the state high court. The high court has set oral arguments for Sept. 8.

Amendment 5, proposed for the November ballot, would cut property taxes about 25 percent by eliminating a portion that goes to fund schools.

The proposal is being floated by the Florida Taxation and Budget Reform Commission, which is seeking to remove about $11 billion in schools' funding generated from property taxes. To make up for the lost property tax funding, possible tax increases include a sales tax increase.

Leon County Circuit Court Judge John Cooper ruled last week the proposal's ballot summary is misleading because it fails to say the replacement requirement would be for only one year.

Cooper did not rule on the ballot measure's merits.

"The court finds that the ballot title and summary provided in the proposition for Amendment 5 fail to fairly inform the voter, in a clear and unambiguous language, of the chief purposes of the amendment and the language of the title and summary, as written, is misleading in the foregoing respects," Cooper wrote.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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