A mete V 7 (o
TAmePA m'imto Q-io7-ns 4
Amendment Questions Can't
Be Answered, Askew Says
From TriUme Wires
TALLAHASSEE Responding to the
Florida Auduboa Soeiety's questioning of
the water-maagement tax amendment,
.Go. Reubin Askew said yesterday the soci-
e 1 is askig for decisions that will not be
made fr several years.
The Audubon Socety Board of Directors
wet Oa record during the weekend favoring
the ecept f property tax use for water
te meat, bat objectig to the wording
ASKEW SAID the legisltue would have
to implement the constitutional amendment
with new laws, which cannot be done until
after the amendment is passed.
."Answers to all the questions will take
several years," Askew added.
"The current posture in which the consti-
tutinal amendment is presented to the elec- a
torate renders difficult, if not impossible, t
an intelligent decision on the issue of ad
valorem taxation for Florida's five water
THE AMENDMENT would allow four a
water management districts to tax up'to e
one mill $1 for each $1,000 of property
value for water management programs
and the fifth in northwest Florida to tax up
to .O mil.
Askew told reporters he believed he and a
the Audubon Society had the same goals. t
"'The question is whether we can go
back and get something better or whether t
we can take an important first step toward
improved water management," he said.
After meeting with supporters and oppo-
nents and an extended debate with its
board, the Audubon Society called for the t
amendment to be reworded and presented.
o voters again in November. ^ "- *
THE PROPOSAL does not make.clear
whether the taxing authority could be used
by 'other agencies involved in water man -
igement, said Hal Scott, Audubon Soiety i
It should specify that the power is only
or the districts and subdistricts, he said.. .
Sen. Philip Lewis, D-West Palm Beach,,
a leader in the drive for approval of the
unendment, said all objections except to
he basic issue of using property tax for,
water management could be corrected by
"WHAT HE OVERLOOKS is that when
t's passed in the constitution, it's passed on-
mocrete and what te legislature can do-.
must be done in keeping with those consti- -
utional terms," Scott said. -
THE TAMPA TIMES, Monday, January 26, 1976
Water tax to go to voters
TALLAHASSEE (AP) As a water war looms over
Florida, voters face a major decision on a proposed
constitutional amendment to allow water-management
districts to set a property tax of up to one mill.
"The basic gut-item is: Do you favor water manage-
ment and do you want to use ad valorem tax to pay for
it?" says Sen. Phillip Lewis, D-West Palm Beach, a
leader in the campaign to gain approval in the March 9
Sen. Robert Graham, D-Miami. concedes that it will
be difficult to get the proposal passed.
"In the first place, it contains the word tax and most
people don't understand it," Graham said.
Gov. Reubin Askew. Lt. Gov. Jim Williams, Agricul-
ture Commissioner Doyle Conner, Attorney General
Robert Shevin and leaders of legislative environmental
committees endorse the proposed amendment.
But the opponents include Art Marshall of Gaines-
ville, former chairman of the St. Johns Water Manage-
ment District and a semi-retired biologist; Johnny
Jones, executive director of the Florida Wildlife Feder-
ation, and Sen. Kenneth MacKay, D-Ocala.
Jones said he expected to see a revolt "so maybe it
will send a message to the legislature that the water
management districts should be state agencies under the
department of natural resources (DNR) with direct ap-
peal to the cabinet."
The six present water management districts were
shifted from DNR to the department of environmental
regulation, which is controlled by the environmental
Jones also objected to having appointed officials set
taxes, but Lewis said the amendment would place the
water management boards more under legislative con-
trol. Any tax they set must meet legislative approval,
Besides. Lewis said, 65 per cent of Florida's popula-
tion already is required to pay property taxes set by
water management boards. N
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