Florida Governor: Scheme to Make Raising Taxes Harder

Rick Scott, the Governor of Florida, wants to make it much harder for successive governments to raise taxes. Under his scheme, anyone who wants to raise taxes would require a 'super-majority' by the Florida legislature. This idea was first made public on August 14. Scant details were offered by the governor's office. The matter will come up for debate only in January.

Support and super-majority

Scott did not act alone. Prior to announcing this idea in Orlando, he had secured the full support of Richard Corcoran, House Speaker elected from Land O'Lakes. The latter, like Scott, wants to go for a higher administrative position in 2018. When Scott made his announcement, Corcoran was there with him.

Governor Scott did not clarify the definition of a super-majority. In the face of it, super-majority means gaining the support of both houses or three-fifths of Legislature. He will be present in Tampa and Jacksonville during the third week of August to promote such a tax measure.

This proposal by Scott, however, has already run into headwinds. Joe Negron, the Republican elected from Stuart, and the Senate President, did not attend although an invitation was sent to him. He issued a statement saying he is open to reviewing the proposal put forward by the governor. The latter, however, has his own support base. One of them is Adam Putnam, the Agriculture Commissioner. He said that Scott's efforts will keep money in the pockets of Florida Republicans. Putnam, a Republican, is campaigning as Scott's successor to the governor.

Evading consequences

If Scott is to become successful in his efforts, he needs a three-fifths vote. This equals 24 votes. Republicans now occupy 24 seats. One is vacant. It should be noted that Florida laws already has a few limits on the imposition of taxes. To increase the tax, Legislature must attain super-majority, which means a three-fifths vote in each chamber, if the corporate taxes are to be increased. Approval of two-thirds of voters must be needed to impose any new state fee or tax. Governor Scott is pushing this idea to the second last year of his governorship tenure. This is as even if this motion becomes law, it will not be applicable to the proposed budgets- and only to those of the future governors.

Democrats like Senator Oscar Braynon elected from Miami Gardens have termed this proposal by Scott a kind of gimmick. He said that this action is designed to disguise the state's mismanagement by the Republican.

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