Hypocrisy and shallow intellect are common among the leadership of Florida's fiscally conservative Senate. But a recent statement from Senate Majority Leader Andy Gardiner makes one wonder if he was blatantly trying to mislead the public or just incapable of understanding certain legislation.
On Tuesday, the Florida Senate approved a constitutional amendment that would limit future state spending based population growth and cost of living. The so-called "Smart Cap" bill, sponsored by Fort Lauderdale Republican Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, passed with a highly partisan 27-13 vote. Shortly after, Gardiner released a statement praising the passage of SJR 958. He called it a smart decision but then went on to falsely claim that it puts most of the power in voters' hands.
"It also gives Floridians a voice, requiring a 60 percent vote by citizens in order to impose a new tax, fee, license, fine, charge, or assessment on Floridians," Gardiner said.
That's not true, according to PolitiFact. The bill still needs to pass the House. If passed by the House, it will then be placed on the 2012 ballot. If it makes it to the ballot, it would need 60 percent voter approval to become law. Still, if it becomes law, the Legislature can either raise the revenue cap itself with a supermajority vote or ask voters to raise the cap, according to an analysis of the bill.
And the bill says absolutely nothing about specific taxes, fees, licenses, fines, charges, or assessments on Floridians. It talks only about revenue caps. But still, any tax or fee that would bust the cap could be approved without voter consent.
Therefore, Gardiner either imagined the requirement of a 60 percent voter approval, misinterpreted the legislation, or just plain lied to Floridians.
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