Home Rule Rules the 2018 Florida Midterm Election

The 2018 Election is over … finally.

Now we can take a break from knocking doors and waving signs and focus instead on the things we all agree on: like the fact that SNL’s Pete Davidson owed Congressman-elect Dan Crenshaw an apology, or that Home
Rule rules in Florida.

This year’s ballot was chock-full of constitutional amendments. And while most politicos thought Amendment 1 the most likely to pass, it was the only amendment (out of twelve) that failed.

Why did the amendment with the most support from Tallahassee politicians end up with the least support from Florida voters?  For one thing, politicos underestimated voters.  Tallahassee politicians wrote Amendment 1 to sound like a tax cut, but as the Florida Association of Counties President, Karson Turner, put it: that tax cut was about as authentic as a Nigerian email scam.

Amendment 1 wasn’t a tax cut at all, it was a tax shift—and while Florida voters love tax cuts, they hate being duped by Tallahassee politicians even more.

Secondly, Amendment 1 would’ve undermined the right of Florida’s local communities to govern themselves.  Home Rule, often called “localism,” gives each community the freedom to solve problems in a way that best addresses the unique needs of its citizens; to decide what they want to do and how to pay for it.  Home Rule holds that government closest to the people governs best.

But Amendment 1 would’ve cost an estimated $752.7 million in the first year, leaving local communities with a difficult choice. “The state politicians have put us in a bad place,” wrote Leo Longworth, president of the Florida League of Cities, and Matthew Surrency, president of the Florida League of Mayors. “Either cut vital services or raise property taxes. Who wants either of these choices?”

Usually, if politicians want to cut taxes they cut their own spending. Tallahassee politicians decided to tamper with local communities’ budgets instead. It was a shell game and enough voters saw through it to make Amendment 1 the only measure to fail this year.

It’s no coincidence that the amendment which would’ve dealt the biggest blow to the principle of Home Rule was the only amendment Florida voters rejected.  Which is why it’s safe to say: Home Rule rules in Florida!

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