Taxation and Budget Commission Chairman Allan Bense said he was "very disappointed'' in the Wednesday decision by the Florida Supreme Court to throw out three of the most hard-fought amendments the panel had placed on the ballot.
"We gave it our best shot," Bense told the Miami Herald. "I'm very disappointed but particularly about Amendment 5. I thought that was Florida's best chance ever for real tax reform."
Bense said that because the rules of the commission require a super-majority vote to place any amendment on the ballot, proponents were forced to compromise and revise their proposals to get 17 votes from the 25-member commission.
In the end, that may have doomed the proposals, he said. The tax reform amendment was tied to eliminating property taxes to win votes, and that led to reducing taxes that pay for schools which left schools worried about seeing their funding cut, he said.
The chief architect of the property tax amendment, John McKay, was equally unhappy. "I’m disappointed in the Supreme Court's denying Florida the opportunity to decide how they are taxed to pay for the education system and the services they reasonably want and deserve.''
He said he hopes the Legislature takes up the tax reform challenge because "the tax system we have today will not serve our needs into the 21st Century.''
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