Amendment 4-How Much Would It Cost?

By October 11, 2010Traditions Property Blog

Amendment 4 has become one of the hot topics for this years election.  Billed as grass roots democracy, this proposed change could have extensive hidden cost and increase litigation against local governments.  Read more below.   

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Oct. 8, 2010 – A new analysis by Florida TaxWatch reveals that if Amendment 4 passes in the upcoming Nov. 2 election, it will negatively impact the state’s economy but also significantly increase costs to taxpayers and local governments.

In a new briefing, “In Addition to Devastating Impacts on the Economy and Jobs, Amendment 4 Will Increase Costs to Taxpayers through Added Elections and Increased Litigation Against Local Governments,” Florida TaxWatch details future fiscal costs and concerns with the potential passage of Amendment 4, which would require voter approval of all changes to local comprehensive land use plans (“comp plans”). Cities use complains to outline their future development.

“Instead of adopting Amendment 4 and spending tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions, of taxpayers’ hard-earned money annually on expensive elections, likely lawsuits and unnecessary overhead, Florida should invest in early learning for its children and youth, high-quality education, public safety and modern infrastructure, which would allow Floridians to compete and prosper in the twenty-first century,” says Dominic Calabro, president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch.

According to the briefing, voter approval for all changes to comp plans would result in hundreds, if not thousands, of elections, which would cost millions of dollars. Florida TaxWatch estimates that direct cost to the taxpayers throughout the state for these special elections would be $44.6 million to $83.4 million annually.

Furthermore, Florida cities that have adopted an Amendment 4-type approach to comp plans have had a significant increase in litigation and legal challenges. If implemented statewide, TaxWatch estimates that Amendment 4 could result in local government legal costs of more than $1 billion annually –more than $135 per Florida household.

In addition to higher costs, Amendment 4 would have a chilling effect on essential investment in Florida, negatively impacting jobs and long-term economic growth. It would stymie business formation and expansion as higher costs emerge for approved commercial and residential investment.

Florida TaxWatch is currently conducting an econometric analysis to quantify the dynamic economic impact of Amendment 4.

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