Clergy Members Protest Amendment 3

Oct 1, 2012

Opponents of Florida’s Amendment three marched from Bethel Missionary Baptist Church to the steps of Florida’s old capital building today. Amendment three, appearing on the November ballot, changes the way the state calculates its revenue cap.

If passed, the constitutional change would move Florida’s state revenue cap from one determined by personal income growth to one based on inflation and population growth. But protesters say this change creates large funding cuts for schools and senior services. Colorado resident Jeanette Baust said during a recession a few years back a similar amendment was tried in her state and failed.

“As soon as it was passed we began to realize that we were locked in to our recession in ways that none of the other states were locked in. We were locked in at rates that were so low and already regressive that anytime we started to grow out of it we didn’t have the services to support the growth”, Baust said.

Baust says constitutional amendments should not be used to restrict revenue because it makes future change more difficult. But Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos said what happened in Colorado won’t happen here.

“We looked at that model closely; we studied this for six or seven years. And we wanted to take the best of that amendment and more importantly tell taxpayers that when the times turn good again and we’re not going to overspend and that tends to happen when the economy picks up. And this means when the economy kicks down again there’s some big, big cuts that we can’t always afford”, Haridopolos said.

Protesters still feel uneasy about the difficulties of changing the revenue limit if the amendment is passed and accessing the rainy-day fund the excess revenue will create.