Title: March 9 Referendum to Amend the Constitution: Letter
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00001970/00001
 Material Information
Title: March 9 Referendum to Amend the Constitution: Letter
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
Abstract: March 9 Referendum to Amend the Constitution: Letter, January 28, 1976, To: James T. Griffins From: Derrill S. McAteer
General Note: Box 10, Folder 1 ( SF Taxation, ad valorem tax referendum-SWFWMD-1975 - 1975 ), Item 18
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: WL00001970
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Holding Location: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text



JAN 30 1976

January 28, 1976 By -------.....-..

Dr, James T. Griffiths
Post Office Box 89
Lakeland, Florida 33802
Re: March 9 Referendum to Amend the Constitution
Dear Jim:
Please let me take this opportunity to express my position with regard to
the March 9 Referendum to amend the Florida Constitution. As you know, this
is when Florida's registered voters will have the opportunity to approve a
constitutional amendment that would authorize and limit a property tax of
1.0 mill for water management purposes. If approved, the 1.0 mill cap will
be effective throughout the State except for that portion of Florida west of
a line running north and south just west of Tallahassee where the cap will
be .05 mill.
I support the amendment because it's simply the only way we can be assured
there is going to be a continuing and stable fund base to finance the many
critically needed water management programs now underway around the State.
Water is Florida's greatest asset. Without a bountiful supply this State
could not have reached its current economic level, but without a continuing
supply for future population, industrial and agricultural needs, Florida's
future would be in grave doubt. Approval of the amendment will mean the
proper water management needed for Florida's future will receive the funding
it requires.
There are other more fundamental reasons why approval of the amendment is so
important. Here are a few:
1. If the amendment is approved, the legislature will still have to
provide the water management districts with implementing authority
to levy the tax and although there is no steel-clad guarantee what
the legislature will do, I am convinced this has always been its
intent. The essence of the Water Resources Act of 1972 is predicated
upon the ability of water management districts to address water
management problems using ad valorem taxes as one of the primary
sources of funding. Approval of the referendum for residents in

Dr. James T. Griffiths
January 28, 1976,
Page Two

these two existing water management districts (where 65% of the
state's population now resides) will not mean new taxes. In fact,
for SWFWMD property owners the maximum miiTage for -water management
Is currently 1.3 mills. Approval of the referendum will reduce this
to 1.Omill.

2. The SWFWMD currently functions under the "Basin Board" concept.
Under this concept every resident is guaranteed an opportunity to
provide input on a local level into the important water management
decisions that affect him directly. Any concerned resident can
attend a Basin Board meeting held in his area and speak directly
to Its members who are prominent local citizens that he probably
already knows.

Being responsible for relatively small areas, members of these
boards are intimately familiar with the problems they are charged
to resolve and since the members also pay the tax the board levies
it is careful to levy only what's needed. In the past, no basin
board has ever levied its maximum village although several have
come close. The overall average would be far less than 1.0 mill.
Preserving the taxing authority of SWFWMD will assure this local
control is maintained. Should the referendum fail, it is conceivable
that water management decision making and control of water management
funds could be shifted to Tallahassee. This is personally my biggest
concern. The further a taxpayer is removed from his tax dollar the
less control he has over when, how and where it will be spent.
3. Local basin board organization assures the basin taxes collected
within its area are spent there. The current law prevents the
taxes of one basin from being spent to benefit another. Similarly,
taxes collected in one water management district would not be
spent in another, i.e., the Tampa area would not be paying for
correction of Miami's problems and vice versa. Nor would Peace River
Basin funds be used to correct the Hillsborough River Basin problems
or vice versa. If the amendment is approved and the legislature
takes appropriate action, all this would be preserved. It is my
opinion that none of us in agriculture can afford to have it other-
As you know, my interest in water long predates my association with SWFWMD.
I have investments in citrus as does my family. It is this personal experience

Dr. James T. Griffiths
January 28, 1976
Page Three

as well as my convictions gained as a member of the SWFWMD Governing Board
that will guide me to cast my vote in favor of the amendment.



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