| Organic wrote:|
| Ladybird0724 wrote:|
| lumii18 wrote:|
@shugah: Dear Republicans, Forcing Florida to wait on 5 hr lines because you've made the ballot 6-10 pages & cut early voting hours is demonic.
???? why is the ballot so long???
....because we had to vote on 12 constitutional amendments . Each amendment was at least a paragraph long, and it was written in three languages (English, Espanol, and Kreyol). I just shook my head more-so at the verbiage on the ballot. Not to be flippant, but I'm sure many of those who went to vote had no idea what those amendments meant. Luckily, we were given something called a 'blue slip' (democratic slip ), and it basically told you what to vote for like this:
Amendment 1 - NO
Amendment 2 - NO
I waited about an hour to vote, and I took a copy of my drivers license, passport, birth certificate, social security card, credit and debit cards, water bill (for the past year) car registration, and three pieces of mail that had my name and address on it. I wanted to be sure that I was not denied. As soon as I reached the door, the lady took a look at my ID (from another state) and said that she wasn't sure if they would be able to accept an out of state ID. I pulled out my bag of verifications, and she let me right in. It was ram packed!
Here are the amendments. They were NOT this concise on the actual ballots, mind you .
Amendment 1 — Opposing Obamacare. The Affordable Health Care Act is now the law of the land. But Republican legislators want to change that — at least here in Florida. There are questions about whether this amendment is even constitutional since it calls for state laws to trump federal ones. But you’ll still vote on it. Vote yes if you think Florida should try to secede from the Affordable Health Care Act.
Amendment 2 — Tax breaks for disabled veterans. This would grant additional property tax breaks for service members who moved to Florida after they were injured. (Florida service members already get this break.) It’s estimated to cost local governments a relatively small $15 million over the first three years. Still, the money must come from somewhere, either budget cuts or increased taxes. Vote yes if you like the discount and are willing to pay for it.
Amendment 3 — Capping government spending. This attempts to limit the amount of money government can take in, tying budget increases to population and inflation. Similar proposals have popped up in many other states — and failed consistently. The one state that adopted it, Colorado, had to suspend it because revenue failed to keep pace with expenses for things such as schools. Opponents say it’s foolish to welcome new growth without paying for it. Proponents say that, without limits, spending could get out of control. Worth noting: This proposal is so convoluted the “summary” on your ballot requires 664 words. That’s longer than this entire column. (Day 1)
Amendment 4 — Tax breaks for non-homestead properties. Right now, the property taxes on your home can’t go up by more than 3 percent a year. This amendment would provide a similar cap (of 5 percent) to businesses, vacation homes and rental properties as well. Budget analysts estimate it would cost local governments $1 billion over the first three years. That means either service cuts or tax increases for everyone else. The amendment also includes a tax break for first-time homeowners. Supporters say the tax breaks would stimulate growth and stabilize tax rates. Vote yes if you want to give tax breaks to businesses and second-homeowners — and are willing to either pay more in taxes or have fewer services to make up the difference.
Amendment 5 — Giving the Legislature more power over the Supreme Court. Florida legislators have grown increasingly angry — and vocal — about court rulings they dislike. So they want more influence. This proposal would make it easier for the Legislature to override the court’s rules and procedures — with a simple majority vote instead of two-thirds. It would also require the governor’s high-court appointees to be confirmed by the state Senate, as happens at the federal level. Overall, this amendment is designed to tilt the current set of checks-and-balances in the Legislature’s favor. A yes vote here means you want state legislators to have more influence over the state’s highest court.
Amendment 6. Abortion. The main thing this amendment tries to do is waive a woman’s right to privacy with regard to abortion. Republican legislators want more hurdles to abortions. But the state constitution’s privacy protections have made that difficult. So lawmakers want those protections weakened. Current laws already ban public money from being spent on abortions, except in cases such as rape and incest. But this would enshrine that ban in the constitution. This would also expand that principle to impact publicly funded health-care plans. Basically, vote yes if you think women seeking an abortion should lose their state-protected right to privacy, and if you want to strengthen and expand existing laws that already ban public spending on abortions.
Amendment 7. Tricked ya. There is no 7. And it’s not just because Florida struggles with math. It’s because the courts ruled that the first version of the Legislature’s desire to give tax money to religious groups was too misleading. Which brings us to …
Amendment 8. Money for religious groups. Right now, the constitution says no tax dollars should be spent on “any church, sect or religious denomination.” Legislators want to change that, saying some religious nonprofits perform services so well that they deserve state contracts. Opponents note that religious groups already get contracts when their main purpose is performing social services. (Think hospice, for instance.) Also possibly at stake are schools. Some legislators want to make it easier to provide publicly funded vouchers at religious schools. Vote yes if you think tax dollars should go to religious groups.
Amendment 9. Tax breaks for widows and widowers of military service members or first responders. In a nutshell, this amendment says that men and women who lost their spouses in the line of duty would not have to pay property taxes on their primary residences. The estimated financial impact is negligible.
Amendment 10. Tax breaks for businesses. This would double the tax exemption on tangible personal property (such as furniture, signs and basic equipment businesses use to earn income) from $25,000 to $50,000. The extra tax breaks are expected to cost local governments about $20 million a year. That’s not massive, statewide. But the money must come from somewhere. So vote yes, if you want to give small businesses that extra break — and are willing to either cut services or increase your own taxes to pay for it.
Amendment 11. Tax breaks for low-income seniors who’ve owned their houses for at least 25 years. That long title pretty much explains it. We’re talking total property-tax breaks for people 65 or older who have lived in their homes valued at $250,000 or less for more than 25 years and make less than $27,030. And counties and cities would have to individually approve this measure. Vote yes if you want older, poorer homeowners to get the break — and think it’s worth the $9 million it could cost local governments in a year.
Amendment 12. Student representation on Florida’s statewide university board. The state board of governors already includes a student rep: the head of the Florida Student Association. But apparently legislators want a new way to select that student. So they want to create another layer of government — a council of student-body presidents — and have thatgroup’s leader serve on the board. If you’re still confused, you’re not alone. Still, if you think this new student board needs to be enshrined in the state constitution, vote yes.