On Thursday, with less than two weeks to go until Election Day, Florida TaxWatch (FTW) released its “2020 Voter Guide Special Edition: Local Tax Referenda,” analyzing the 33 ballot referenda before voters across Florida which propose more than $360 million in tax increases and $200 million in new bond issues.
Voters in 11 localities will also help decide questions regarding property tax exemptions, and there are at least 150 charter amendments being decided on local ballots.
Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic Calabro weighed in on the new voter guide.
“This year, in addition to electing the next President of the United States, voters will decide other federal, state, and local races, consider six proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution, and in many places decide on a host of local tax referenda. To ensure voters are educated on the choices before them, Florida TaxWatch is proud today to release our guide to the local tax and fiscal referenda appearing on the 2020 ballot,” Calabro said on Thursday.
“These issues, ranging from new local options sales taxes to bonding and tourist development taxes, are significant and statewide amount to more than $360 million annually in local tax increases. Government accountability begins with an informed and active electorate and we offer this report as a helpful guide for voters to thoughtfully decide how their hard-earned tax dollars are spent,” Calabro added.
According to FTW’s analysis, Florida taxpayers have shown they are willing to pay more taxes if they feel the return will be worth it. Only one of the 27 county-wide tax increase referendums considered in 2018 failed and most passed easily. However, it remains to be seen how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected voters’ appetite for tax increases as we head into the 2020 election.