Title: Statement from Senator Kenneth H. MacKay
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00002120/00001
 Material Information
Title: Statement from Senator Kenneth H. MacKay
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
 Subjects
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
 Notes
Abstract: Statement from Senator Kenneth H. MacKay
General Note: Box 10, Folder 2 ( SF Taxation, ad valorem tax referendum-SWFWMD-1976 - 1976 ), Item 72
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
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Bibliographic ID: WL00002120
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Holding Location: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
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Full Text


STATEMENT FROM SENATOR
SKENNETH II. MACKAY



I oppose thl proposed Constitution-
Sanmendment creating a standard ad
valorem ta:x for a enter management, not
because of dissatisfaction within the
entere r Management Districts, but be-
cause I believe that the question of how
vw finance the water management dis-
:.'icts should not he counidcredl in iso-
:lation from the other issues which rc-
::1ain unresolved in water im:na.geiment.
lhe proper way to fin:nce water man-
*-:cment may turn out to be entirely
:' ffe re nt, ditpcndling on the way the
l1wr issues arc' resolve,, and we are
*iting "the cart b.'fore t he hIorse" in
..empting to deal with funding at this


My first concern Ihas to do with
'e absence of a.uniform policy for
,vernance an-. allocation of costs with-
'nthewater manas-tiemint districts. The
:isis of this concern can be seen in a
o rnparison of thi. policies of Southwest
i:lorida Water 'Man.agnment D i strict
ith those of the C'entral and Southern
watere r Mamnagement District.

fn tilh Southwest Florida Water
Management District (SWFMD), sepa-
rate' boar ds have been established in
each river basin. S\FMID u tii i e. s
,litferent levels of taxation in the sepa-
rate river basins, and the river basin
boards assure local input on questions
involving taxes, as well as the level of
serviccs.and other basic policy ques-
tio.s.

In contrast, the policy of the Cen-
tral ani Southern Water Management
District is that w\ster mia nae m e nt
problems are district-wide. For this
reason Central and Southern has not
seen fit to e rs t a 1 is h separate river
basin boards nor to utilize differential
levels of taxation.

At present there Is no ex i sti n g
state-wide policy on the qu en ct i on of
allocation of costs, or local input
th. rough the establishment of ri vc r
:asin I oa rd s. The establishment of
river bason boards, each of which has
=Irong input on the levy of tax millagve
in.its area, is a gigrantee of fairness
!n Ihe allocation of 'osts. This policy
should be mandated by statute for all
of the water m anag mi en t districts
'rcfore t he Constitution is amended to
.*low state-wide levy of ad v alor em


In my view, it is merely a matter
of time until thi water management
0Yooards are re-apportioned. At th:ln
p oint, the importance of separate river
basin boards with a voice in decisions
concerning the iil la Ige levy will be-
come much more apparent. Indeed, if
this issue i: not add re ss ed prior lo
re-apportionment of the water manage-
ment board:u it is foreseeable that the
policy within SW\IMDI could )e re-
versed, so that all of the water man-
agement district would be like Central
andl Southern.

My second concern has to do w ith
the r el a ti o ns hi p between the water
management d i s t r i c t s and the other
agencies with responsibility for plan-
ning. I do not believe that the manage-
ment of water c:.n prop erly he con-
sidered as a separate issue from the
management of our other natural andt
man built resources. My approach
would be to require each planning
community to live within its own re-
sources; or to identify and le able and
willing to support the cost of exceeding
these limitations.

The various pieces of pl manning
legislation passed by the Florida L.cgis-
lature during recent years have been
excellent. Indeed, we are as far along
as any jurisdictioli of which I am aware.
A major shortcoming exists, however,
in the lack of any meaningful provision
for coordi n at ion between planning
entities. Nowhere is this more appar-
ent than in water management.

Our existing statutes nma k e little
or no provision for coordination be-
tween tile water manageenmt districts
and regional planning councils. One
example is the D. R.. process, where
the wa t e r management districts a r
not even involved. Thus, they legiti-
mately argue that they are not consulted
when development decisions are made,
and should not be held accountable for
the results. In fact, given the ill-de-
fined roles of regional and state plan-
ning agencies, it is difficult to see howv
anyone can fairly be held accountable
for the results.

My third n c e r n ha.1 to do with
taxing policy. I believe the ad valorem
tax is essentially a local tax, and that
it should be reserved for those functions
of government which are esser.ti i'ly
local in nature. The ad valorcn: t:-.: is
under severe pressure already, largely
because we have pre-empted it as a
funding source for the public school
system m, which I view as a state re-
sponsibility. It is a mistake to further


.:, inr', we ar; e further pr -- miptinl; thl
ti ing ; powI r of local go.:ernnent in
cder to found. a function whichh is pri-
'iarily a responsibili ty of state govern-
mcnt.

iThe wa y we fi n an c e our public
school system is a good case in point.
We are d r i v i n g approximately S5300
m million dollars each year fro n the
property tax for public school purpo--es.
At the same time, however, ti -:,ie
through its va rious ro'vcL.:. "-.'rin.r
programs, is having to r.'phl:ce these
proper rty tax dollars by distributing;
approximately S.'v ,i million dollars of
state tax rve ne I ac t:wh year to local
government. If we further oncumber
the properly tax to the t':tnt of an ad-
ditional $7-1 million o In r s ithe ap-
prodimatc value of 1 mill statewide),
it is unrealistic to assunimthat we will
not again he required to increase state
aid to local government by an off-set-
ting amount.

Finally, I consider it irresponsible
and u n w i s to adopt a Constitution:.
amendment which limits the ad valorem
tax to 1/20th of a mill in northwest
Florida, while authorizing a tax 20
times as high in the rest of the State.
Even if my other arngumentl are dis-
regarded entirely, this alone is suf-
ficient re ason to oppose the anmn:l-
ment.

The Legislature ha s both the au-
thority and the responsibility to !del
with these problems. We should spell
out by statute the role and authority of
river basin boards, as wells tho role
and authority of regional planning
councils, and tile relationship of these
various agencies to state and local
government. After these questions :rer
resolved, we should consider the ftnd-
ing question. At that point, an effort
should be made to diflcrentiate between
those aspects of water management
which are a state responsibility (to be
funded from state revenue sources),
those which are local responsibilities
(to be funded from "ad valor e tax
revenues) and those which are of
benefit to individual property Mowners
(to be funded from u.er fees).

In closing, I want to express s my
appreciation to Florida Citrus Mutu-al
for the na n ne.r in which it has ap-
proache:-d. this issue. M:. '.-: s that
.TJut.al's :nicmbc rs will I'.? i. e
to inform; them'-selves f1:'.:: -ore cast-
ing their votes. If so, rc.-rdless of
the outcon'e, the menbr':rs of Citrus
Mutual will have dr.e their pa.t.


I




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