According to the Florida League of Women Voters, not one of them is worth your support.
Deirdre Macnab, the group's president, said all 11 of the amendments on the ballot are, "either inappropriate or undermining core principals of our democracy."
Thursday afternoon, League members hosted a conference call to discuss why they oppose all of the measures, with emphasis on amendments 3, 4 and 5.
Amendment 3's language proposes to limit the growth of state and local revenues to a highly restrictive formula: inflation plus the annual change in population. It's modeled on Colorado's controversial TABOR (Taxpayers Bill of Rights) measure passed 20 years ago, which led to such severe budget cuts that citizens voted in 2005 to suspend the measure for five years, where it's now being litigated.
Amendment 3 was championed a year ago by Senate President Mike Haridopolos, who was pushing the measure when he announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate. He dropped out of the race a few months later.
Robb Gray, Senior Vice President at the Washington D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said the passage of Amendment 3 would, in the long run, lead to harmful budget cuts in education and other key parts of the state government. He also said that his research shows that the bond rating of the state would be at risk of being lowered, which would hurt infrastructure projects such as schools and roads.
As CL previously reported, Amendment 4 would reduce the 10 percent cap on increases in property values of non-homesteaded properties to 5 percent. It would give first-time homebuyers — people who haven't purchased a home in Florida in three years — an additional homestead exemption on half the appraised value of their home (up to $150,000), phased out over five years. It would also eliminate the "recapture" rule, a state law that allows property taxes to rise on some people's homes even though their assessed value decreased from the previous year.
The impact would hit local governments hard, as it would reduce the level of property taxes they could take in — the prime way they fund local services.
Former GOP state Sen. Alex Villalobos spoke out against Amendment 5, which will require Senate confirmation of Supreme Court nominees chosen by the governor, similar to the federal system. It also would allow the Florida Legislature to repeal court rules with a majority vote, instead of the two-thirds now required. That would afford Republicans who control the Legislature the power to block court rules in the future, even if their current super-majority shrinks.
"This is a solution in search of a problem," Villalobos said, adding that it was also, "a power grab by the Legislature trying to interfere with the business of the Court."
He said it adds a layer to the system, and as someone who favors less government, he added there's no good reason for such a new law.
Amendment 5 is championed by House Speaker Dean Cannon, who said the state's system has less accountability than the federal judicial system. He has been quoted as asking, "Who is the Florida Supreme Court answerable to? The answer is almost nobody. They're operating in secret."
Macnab said members of the League of Women Voters will be writing editorials and appearing on as many radio and television programs as possible to share their opposition to all of these measures. She expressed particular venom for Amendment 3, referring to how more than 30 states across the country have rejected similar type measures, including Arizona's conservative Governor, Jan Brewer.
"And now Floridians have it dressed up like the apple in the Garden of Eden on their ballot," she waxed, later calling it a, "hot fudge sundae of an issue," because of how it appeals to voters, but is in fact bad for them.
The League's blanket condemnation of all the measures obviously included Amendment 6, the anti-choice measure that Macnab said will result in making it much more difficult for women to get abortions, "even in the case of cancer and life threatening situations."
To read more about the amendments and why the Florida League of Women Voters oppose them all, visit its website.