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A Closer Look At Florida's Amendment 3

MIAMI (CBS4) -- This November's ballot is the longest in South Florida history. The reason: 11 constitutional amendments, some as long as a half of page. On the ballot, Amendment 3 is titled State Government Revenue Limitation. In simple English that means a new formula for the state budget.

Currently government spends based on how much residents make. This plan would cap state spending based on population and cost of living. The result would be a tax cut where excess funds would go to a rainy day fund. Once the rainy day fund hits a certain point lawmakers would then be forced to reduce property taxes.

"That sounds very good. It's a wolf in sheep clothing. When you get down to it, it is going to make matters worse," Reverend Richard Dunn told CBS4's David Sutta.

The former Miami Commissioner is concerned vital state programs, already struggling, would be hit hard by the spending cap.

"We know how this goes. And we are talking public education. We know that the legislators have already demonstrated that when it comes down to cutting they are going to be the first on the chopping block," he said.

The state has estimated the amendment would cost the state $11 billion in revenue the first decade. It's money that would have gone to things like schools, roads, bridges, health programs, and public transit.

Instead the money would stay in people's pocket which is why small business is supporting the amendment.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce said, "There should always be checks and balances in place to help ensure our government doesn't grow faster than Floridians capability to pay for it. The less government takes, the more Floridians will keep."

Dunn chuckled after hearing the statement.

"It's a great argument but when you look at this amendment there was one similar in the state of Colorado that passed called TABOR and it was a disaster. It increased taxes. It's so bad now that they have suspended that amendment," said  Rev. Dunn.

Proponents argue this is not the same as Colorado. The chamber said, "Voting yes on Amendment 3 will send a message to our state leaders that the size of Florida's government shouldn't grow faster than the taxpayers' capacity to pay for it."

To boil it all down, Amendment 3 basically puts lawmakers on a tighter budget. It could put money back in your pocket and it could prevent state programs from keeping up with demand. To expand the cap in the future it would require a vote by legislators and possibly voters.


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