Wednesday, October 10, 2012

2012 General Election Florida Amendments

This year’s election is not simply about the White House.  There are 4 pages of items up for vote and anyone who plans on going into the voter booth without doing their homework will be shocked and amazed at the shear number of confusing amendments and options this year.  Everyone needs to vote, even if you are not in favor of a particular candidate for president.  There are many other important races and it is my hope that by going public with my ballot that you will be challenged to do some research of your own.  I realize that our vote is a private matter but I make mine public not so that you can attack me on the points where we likely will disagree, but rather to help you understand my perspective on the issues at hand.  (Initially, I put this together to help my wife sort through the mess as she has little time or stomach for politics.)

Number 1 - 100% Yes
Because it prohibits the government from forcing individuals to purchase health insurance. (Obamacare) And prohibits the government from penalizing companies to provide healthcare options that violates their conscience.

Number 2 - 75% No
Expansion of property tax discounts to injured veterans who were not residents prior to their injury.  This is one of those laws that makes for great pretense but little substance.  We already give this discount to residents, to expand it nationally sounds patriotic, but potentially puts a greater tax burden on the residents of the state.

Number 3 - 60% Yes
This law is just an update to an existing law that limits the amount of revenue our state government can collect.  Typically I would vote to keep our state from having the ability to collect greater revenue,(taxes) but in this case this amendment is just a provision to account for growth in population and inflation.

Number 4 - 60% No
For me this was not a strong no.  This is a great law if you are in the real estate development business, but what is a tax cut for some requires a tax increase for others.  To add additional homestead exemptions and slow the government’s ability to adjust property tax from 10% to 5% sound good, but someone’s got to pay and since I do not make my money flipping houses, I will vote no. 

Number 5 - 80% Yes
This is just good law.  It requires supreme court justices that are nominated from the governor to be confirmed by the legislature.  This will keep activist governors from appointing activist supreme court justices.  It will give elected officials greater power than appointed ones.  In addition, it streamlines the court system within the state to act in accordance with one another. (Rather than each court doing its own procedures)

Number 6 - 100% Yes
This law further strengthens existing laws that states that tax dollars be spent in the abortion industry.  It is one thing to say that abortion is not murder, it is another thing to require me to pay for it.

Number 8 - 60% Yes
This is another of those 60/40 in favor of votes for me.  I feel strongly in the separation of church and state, but our FL constitution prohibits support of ministries simply because they are based in religious efforts.  I am not saying that I want churches to be dependent on government aid, but I do not think a ministry such as Salvation Army should be discriminated against simply because they are associated with a church.  My vote is for Salvation Army to have the same access to public funds for their ministry as the secular ministry down the street.

Number 9 - 75% No
This is similar to amendment 2 where it sounds like a nice idea to give discounts to first responders and their spouses if they die as a result of their work.  Firemen who die in a fire are heroes and so are the policemen killed in the line of duty.  I do not argue this.  However, they all should have life insurance and this amendment even though it means well, is misguided.  We don’t need to amend our constitution and make things a constitutional right to provide breaks to our first responders.

Number 10 - 75% Yes
This bill is directed at small business owners who have “tangible property” that they are taxed on.  Real people call that “equipment.”  If a lawn care guy needs $25,000 worth of equipment, he is not rich, those are just the tools of his trade.  Releasing him on the taxes would help him better run his business.  On the other hand, this may also provide tax breaks for owners of 4 wheelers, jet skis and boats…  Not a strong yes, but I will hope that with the tax breaks the small biz guy hires someone else to work for him.

Number 11 - 80% No
More property tax breaks for specialized classes.  First veterans, then first responders and now grandma….  I know you hate me for saying it, but this is not what amendments are for.  Granny gets one homestead exemption and that should suffice.  If she has been a resident of that home for more than 25 years it is almost paid off anyway.

Number 12 - 75% No
Again, this is more of a procedural move and I am tired of making a state constitutional right for everything.  If it is necessary to make the change, we don’t need to make it a “right” to do so.  The legislature has ways of doing this and this sounds to me like someone did not get their way and so they are trying to make it a constitutional right of the government to include this position…  In conclusion, we don’t need to make procedural decisions a constitutional right.

 Stay tuned for my candidate picks and why...