TABOR tussle aheadby John Kennedy | March 3rd, 2011
With the Florida Senate poised to approve a strict state spending cap possibly as early as next week’s opening days of the legislative session, opponents are trying to marshal forces.
The League of Women Voters warns that the so-called Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) that Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, is looking to put before voters next year could doom Florida to years of inadequate financing of health and social service programs.
Critics say the state’s tough revenue picture is only going to get more brutal if TABOR is OK’d by voters.
“This is like telling people who are dying of thirst in the desert that they need to have flood insurance,” said Ben Wilcox, a league lobbyist.
Florida already has a revenue cap in the state constitution, approved by voters in 1994. But the latest proposal tightens it from being based on personal income growth to a new standard tied to population growth and inflation, while also limiting future borrowing.
It doesn’t apply to cities and counties.
Colorado approved the nation’s first TABOR in 1992, but later suspended it do to government cash-flow problems. Haridopolos, a candidate for U.S. Senate, says TABOR is needed to restrain state government — especially when the recession eases and tax collections return to earlier levels.