FAC Data Point:

Impact of HB 5

 

If passed by the Florida Legislature and signed by the Governor, House Bill 5 will increase the voting threshold for county governments and school districts to amend rates on surtaxes from a simple majority to a two-thirds majority. The increased threshold would apply not just to votes takes by county commission and school district boards, but also to local referenda voted on by local citizens.

 

County governments and school boards use revenues from surtaxes to fund transportation systems, infrastructure needs, small county issues, indigent care and trauma centers, public hospitals, school facilities, and emergency fire rescue services. In 2018, there were 11 local referenda votes to establish or increase surtaxes to fund local projects, with all but one referendum passing by receiving approval from the majority of local citizens who voted. Had House Bill 5 been in effect during this most recent election, it would have overturned the majority approval in 9 out of the ten referenda that passed by requiring a two-thirds majority.

 

Examples requiring so-called supermajority voting thresholds in Florida include the 60 percent threshold required for voters to pass a constitutional amendment, and the two-thirds threshold required for the State Legislature to increase any taxes. Each of these supermajority thresholds were first established, however, by receiving approval in advance from Florida voters, as these provisions were voted into the State Constitution in 2006 and 2018 respectively. If passed and signed into law, House Bill 5 would be the first example of its kind in Florida where a supermajority vote is required without first being voted on directly by voters.

 

 

 

FAC Contact:

For additional information, contact Casey Perkins via email at cperkins@flcounties.com.