| Material Information
||Letter Attached Copy of WTVT Editorial
||North America -- United States of America -- Florida
||Letter Attached Copy of WTVT Editorial, From: LM Blain To: Donald Morgan, Feb 10, 1976
||Box 10, Folder 2 ( SF Taxation, ad valorem tax referendum-SWFWMD-1976 - 1976 ), Item 87
||Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
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AN OFFICIAL XkRESS(ON Q,(fPI~I 9N BY TELEVISION STATION WTVT NEW
VOLUME XIX,. NUMBER 21 A JANUARY 29, 1976
E'.ATi .L:4:NT FEB 6 1976
WATER TAX REFERENDUM
Some officials are saying the statewide water d strict referendum on the March
ballot is more important to Floridians than the Presidential primary. In many
ways they are right. Unfortunately it's going to be a tough issue to explain
to the voters.
Basically it would give the state's water management districts constitutional
authority to levy up to one mill in property taxes. Actually two of the districts,
including the one covering the Bay area, already have the power to levy even more
than that, so it would actually mean a reduction here. In any case, the district
does not use all the taxing authority it already has. The reason a constitutional
amendment is needed is that district boundaries have been switched around, which
the courts say means they are new districts, requiring a new referendum.
The Florida Audubon Society, which strongly supports the work of the water districts,
is opposing the amendment on grounds it is faulty and should be delayed until
November to give the legislature a chance to rework it. Some of the flaws the
Society is concerned about are the result of necessary legislative compromise, and
probably wouldn't come out much different the second time around, either. For
example, a much lower tax ceiling for the panhandle section, where water is
plentiful anyhow. Another criticism is that the amendment neither controls the
exact millage levy under the one-mill ceiling, nor assures that it will actually
Well, the same could be said of the tax ceilings on cities, counties and school
boards. Constitutions are supposed to set limits and grant powers in broad terms,
not get into administrative and legislative detail. We think the districts will
be properly controlled by the legislature which created them. Which brings up
The Audubon people are concerned that the amendment grants the taxing power for
water management programs, not just for the water districts. They fear this power
could be used by other types of districts not as much concerned with conservation.
But, again, the water districts do not belong in the constitution. Who knows
what changes we will want to make to meet future situations? In any case, we
know of no guarantee that the water districts will always act in compliance with
the wishes of conservationists, either.
Channel 13 believes the voters of the Bay area can safely support this amendment,
knowing it will actually lower the taxing powers now given to the water management
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