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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Florida Ballot Amendments Section

No time like the present to talk about the amendments from a libertarian point of view. Keep in mind that one cannot get what one wants by denying it to everyone else.

Ballot Initiative 1. Yes. There should be no such thing as public funding for campaigns, so Yes would appear to make the most sense here.

Ballot Initiative 2. No, this only helps a very few select people and the savings is a joke that will likely cost the counties more than it saves a few tax payers. This is obviously a pie-in-the-sky worthless amendment that appears to be taking care of our boys in arms, but in reality does nothing. A whole extra additional homestead exemption subject to a percentage based on the number of days the person was deployed. That very deployment can actually remove the base homestead exemption if our military person was to rent out their residence while gone. What? How many hard pressed soldiers do you know of that own houses (real property)? At best the military person would be able to qualify for an additional $25,000 exemption but would likely be looking at less. This would result in at most $600 of savings for the county with the worst mill rate. Sounds pretty decent, but shouldn't it be the entire property tax for the year? Of note, however, the person that could really use the $600 is either living in base housing or on ship. This is tax reform? No, it is not. Florida needs to look at removing property tax completely off the table and move to reduced spending and reliance only on sales tax and other optional fees (licensing). Taxing someone simply for owning property goes against the basic right to own property and is not a reasonable means to support government activities.

Ballot Initiative 4. No, no, and more no! People still believe the lie that property value is solely linked to control of what the neighbor does with his property. In a nutshell, it is already bad enough that the local governments think their zoning is the end-all, be-all, final word on what a person may do with property they own. Now we want to amend the Florida constitution to let the neighbors vote on every rezoning event thus giving the property owner 1 say in thousands of what they would like to do with their property. Proponents of this horribly worded amendment don't seem to realize that they won't be voting on what goes in their city, just when local government decides to change the land use plan (rezone). Property ownership aside, this would make rezoning prohibitively expensive thus causing stagnation for many areas as the person or people who want the change would have to find funds to bring land use changes to a vote or just wait until the next larger scale election to consider it. Granted, legally the government would have to fund it, but we all know that means either the taxpayer funds it or another method is found to accomplish it. New business is very unlikely to want to spend money on the possibility of getting a land use changed.... The last thing we need is less freedom for property owners to decide what to do with their property. We need to work on repealing laws that prohibit people from free use of their property, not slap on more restrictions and legal costs to change. The Texas Revolution was fought over less than the kinds of restrictions we live under today. Stand up for your right to do with your property as you wish and stop worrying about what your neighbor wants to do with theirs.

Ballot Initiative 5 & 6. No. These amendments makes no sense. I understand the spirit of them, yet what they would require of us to make it work is nothing less than an invasion of privacy. I am tired of being labeled a race other than American. I was born an American and I am still an American. Anyone who has immigrated to here is an American. Draw the districts as circles and squares, keeping them contiguous and get rid of the long little tails that wrap up, through, and around other districts, yes. Worry about race, culture, political party, religion, sexual affiliation[okay, I added that one, but I honestly see it coming] (etc) no! This is getting ridiculous. If the congressional and legislative districts were meant to be nations, then we'd have the people in the districts determine what the districts boundaries are like the states originally did. The nations are supposed to be the States, not the districts or the counties. This amendment does exactly one thing - opens up a huge hole for legal battles making a bunch of lawyers very rich and accomplishing nothing else.

Ballot Initiative 8. Yes, only because it is less restrictive than the original amendment. Here we see the result of the failing of democracy. Just a few years ago we voted overwhelmingly to put the schools under a strain that we didn't want to actually pay for. This amendment barely relaxes the original one and is just as ridiculous. This is a criteria that should be set by each district and not by a State constitution. The people of the districts should be permitted the flexibility to handle education the way they can afford without having to face legal battles over democratically created laws that look great on paper, but fail miserably in reality.

Nonbinding statewide advisory referendum. Why have an opinion poll on a ballot? Take the place of power that Florida truly has and bindingly tell the federal government to start following the US Constitution as well as immediately suspending all federal deficit spending. If the federal government actually obeyed the Constitution they would have a surplus of funds just from legal taxation (without the income tax).

Special Referendum for Orange County School District. No, no, and hell no. The school district currently throws away between $12,000 and $15,000 per actual full time student. They do not need nor deserve ONE penny more in revenue. They need to restructure and reduce salaries of all their administrators, including eliminating unnecessary levels of management. Get rid of the waste and get the money to the teachers and the classroom. Get rid of the overhead and figure out how to get education down to private school levels of $3,000-6,000 a student. Refuse federal dollars and start educating instead of indoctrinating. Teach theories as theories and don't favor one culture over another.

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