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Cover Story

The Amendments

Our guide to the confusing mess of constitutional amendments appearing on your ballot

Photo: , License: N/A

Photo: , License: N/A

What it says: A vote in favor of this amendment is a vote to give low-income senior citizens who've lived in their homes for 25 years or more an exemption on property taxes.

What proponents say: That this amendment would make it easier for senior citizens struggling to make ends meet and stay in their homes.

What opponents say: This is yet another law that would take a big bite out of tax revenues, which could ultimately lead to higher taxes for those who aren't eligible for these kinds of breaks.

What we say: As Deidre McNab of the League of Women Voters of Florida noted on her organization's opposition to Amendment 9, the state Constitution – a governing document – is simply not the place for the state to create tax policy. If passed, this would be yet another amendment that would codify tax inequities in our state Constitution – inequities that would be far more difficult to repeal or amend than if they were created by new legislation. Hey, Tallahassee, if you think we need so much revision to our tax laws, why don't you make it a key topic during your next legislative session and hammer out some meaningful, comprehensive tax reforms that help all of us, rather than try to prey on voters' emotional responses to get them to pass tax relief for just a few select segments of the population? This is no way to govern.

Amendment 12
Appointment of student body president to board of governors of the state university system

What it says: Replaces the president of the Florida Student Association with the chair of the council of state university student body presidents as the student member of the Board of Governors of the State University System.

What proponents say: The Florida Student Association is a private lobbying group, and state university students are more likely to have their student body president representing them on the Board of Governors if a new council of student body presidents is created.

What opponents say: Though private, the Florida Student Association no longer charges dues, which is the primary reason why some universities chose not to have their student body presidents join as members. Therefore, this amendment is unnecessary.

What we say: How the hell did this make it on the ballot? Basically, Florida State University didn't want to pay to be part of the FSA, so they demanded the creation of a new organization that looks and smells just like the FSA, only without the dues. But the FSA stopped charging dues in January, making this battle meaningless. Yet the legislature still ran headfirst in a bipartisan manner to rush this to the ballot, probably hanging itself on the fact that the FSA is synonymous with a "lobby." This procedural amendment carries no water for the average voter and it stinks of petty infighting. Your government at work!

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