In the past two years, Miami-Dade County voters have approved two major government bond programs to fund public schools and the Jackson Health System.
But did the voters know their “Yes” votes would hike their property taxes?
Some county commissioners think not. So next time, they want to make sure.
Commissioners agreed Wednesday to add new language to future bond questions noting that the debt would be “paid or secured by taxes derived from the assessed value of property in the County.” Altering or removing the language would require approval from two-thirds of commissioners.
“Government has a funky way of playing with ballot language that essentially confuses a lot of the residents,” said Commissioner Esteban “Steve” Bovo, who sponsored the legislation. “When you tell them, ‘Well, you voted for this,’ … they’re clueless on the impact it has.”
The board signed off on the new language 10-2, with some commissioners saying the provision is too long. Ballot questions can only be 75 words long.
Opponents also said voters should assume that county funding comes from property taxes, the chief source of local government revenue.
And Commissioner Barbara Jordan worried that the addition will doom future bond efforts.
“When the community sees the word ‘tax,’ they’re not going to look at the issue,” she said. “The word tax says, ‘Vote no.’ So I vote no.”
Perhaps the school district and Jackson hospital should count their lucky stars.