The Libertarian Voters Guide 2 Nov 10 Ballot Amendments

The Libertarian Voters Guide

2 November 2010 General Election Ballot Florida Constitutional Amendments and Other Initiatives

30 September 2010

This guide contains a brief synopsis of the constitutional amendments and other initiatives to be on the General Ballot in the 2 November General election. Following each synopsis is the opinion of the Libertarian Party of Okaloosa County regarding each ballot initiative.

There are six total proposed constitutional amendments and one Federal Budget Advisory Question to be on the 2 November ballot. The proposed amendments are not numbered sequentially, so the ballot will show amendments numbered up to number eight when there are only six of them.

In summary, the LPOC recommends that an individual vote as follows:

Amendment One: Vote yes Amendment Two: Vote no

Amendment Four: Vote yes Amendment Five: Vote no

Amendment Six: Vote no Amendment Eight: Vote yes

Federal Budget Advisory Question: Vote no

The Executive Committee of the LPOC, in pursuit of individual rights, free markets, and limited government,

Pete Blome, Chairman
Steve Copus, Vice Chairman
Mike Maier, Treasurer
Lee Jackson, Former Chair

Help us in our fight for a better Okaloosa. Send donations to:

Pd. Pol. Adv. By The Libertarian Party of Okaloosa County, P.O. Box 483, Shalimar, Florida 32579-0483, www.libertarianpoc.org,

Number One: Article VI, section 7

REPEAL OF PUBLIC CAMPAIGN FINANCE REQUIREMENT

Ballot summary: Proposing the repeal of the provision in the State Constitution that requires public financing of campaigns of candidates for elective statewide office.

LPOC Opinion: The malignant growth of government often comes from ideas that on the surface seem like good ones. Government should rule for the benefit of all, but when it coerces some of the population, through tax laws, to support the campaigns of political candidates they do not agree with, it coerces the public into supporting a message they would not support. Instead of the power of public opinion determining issues and candidates’ chances, the financial role of government has suddenly made that government take on a very direct role in determining the issues and candidates are that the public sees. Public support also means public accountability. Although this also appears to be on the surface a good idea, it tends to limit a candidate to only those actions that are already approved by the government. It becomes one more step in the march of political mediocrity that we suffer from right now. In sum, public campaign financing favors an existing government administration, and reduces the public discussion of issues.

Vote yes to repeal this amendment

Number two: Article VII, section 3 and Article XII, section 31

HOMESTEAD AD VALOREM TAX CREDIT FOR DEPLOYED MILITARY PERSONNEL

Ballot summary: Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to require the legislature to provide an additional homestead property tax exemption by law for members of the United States military or military reserves, the United States Coast Guard or its reserves, or the Florida National Guard who receive a homestead exemption and were deployed in the previous year on active duty outside the continental United States, Alaska or Hawaii, in support of military operations designated by the legislature. The exempt amount will be based on the number of days in the previous calendar year that the person was deployed on active duty outside the continental United States, Alaska or Hawaii in support of military operations designated by the legislature. The amendment is scheduled to take effect January 1, 2011.

LPOC Opinion – The real purpose of this amendment is to support a flagging real estate market. It reinforces the false belief that government exists to provide special favors for politicians to dole out.to select groups. A second homestead exemption discriminates against renters, and props up housing prices by increasing housing demand. From an economic point of view, it would be better to eliminate taxes on all households, thereby freeing up spendable income, than it would be to grant a special exemption for a few. At its core this amendment is about granting exemptions – every taxpayer does not get the same deal and most will bear more costs for taxation and in higher costs for housing. Vote no

Number four: Article II, section 7

REFERENDA REQUIRED FOR ADOPTION AND AMENDMENT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMPREHENSIVE LAND USE PLANS

Ballot summary: Establishes that before a local government may adopt a new comprehensive land use plan, or amend a comprehensive land use plan, the proposed plan or amendment shall be subject to vote of the electors of the local government by referendum, following preparation by the local planning agency, consideration by the governing body and notice. Provides definitions. Financial Impact statement: This amendment’s impact on local government expenditures cannot be estimated precisely. Local governments will incur additional costs due to the requirement to conduct referenda in order to adopt comprehensive plans or amendments thereto. The amount of such costs depends upon the frequency, timing and method of the referenda, and includes the cost of ballot preparation, election administration, and associated expenses. The impact on state government expenditures will be insignificant.

LPOC Opinion: The voters of Florida would be better off if this amendment were not on the ballot, as voting either yes or no supports an intrusive government. The idea of local land use plans requiring a referendum whenever a change is proposed seems to support a common conception of democracy, i.e., that all will vote and decide an issue. This is in contrast to the current method where a few representatives on a zoning board decide matters. Presumably, opening zoning decisions to public referendum reduces the centralized power of government.

But the real question a voter needs to ask himself is whether government should be in charge of deciding how you use your property. Zoning, permits and licenses are among the most pernicious limitations on an individual using his own property, and arriving at that decision by a vote of your neighbors or by a vote of remote zoning board is still a limitation on your use of your property. What you are being asked to vote for here is control by an organized, vocal minority or control by unelected or unaccountable bureaucrats. Neither is acceptable.

It is our opinion it is better to let this matter be decided by your neighbors than by a remote government. Eventually, it is our hope that the community in general will come to see that government intervention is harmful in the overwhelming majority of cases, whether that intervention be by bureaucrat or by popular vote, and gradually eliminate it.Vote yes

Number Five: Article III, section 21

STANDARDS FOR LEGISLATURE TO FOLLOW IN LEGISLATIVE REDISTRICTING

Ballot summary: Legislative districts or districting plans may not be drawn to favor or disfavor an incumbent or political party. Districts shall not be drawn to deny racial or language minorities the equal opportunity to participate in the political process and elect representatives of their choice. Districts must be contiguous. Unless otherwise required, districts must be compact, as equal in population as feasible, and where feasible must make use of existing city, county and geographical boundaries.

Financial Impact statement: The fiscal impact cannot be determined precisely. State government and state courts may incur additional costs if litigation increases beyond the number or complexity of cases which would have occurred in the amendment’s absence.

LPOC Opinion : This is an example of an amendment that gives voters a false sense of confidence in the virtue of their elected representatives. The thought that partisan, professional politicians would knowingly commit political suicide by revising his/her district to permit a competitive opponent in her/his district illogical on its face.

This amendment tries to give political cover to Republican and Democrat legislators accused of redistricting partisanship, but it will not stop the practice. Cunning legislators of either major party can still arrange districts to favor one of the two dominant parties just by being active during the border drawing process. The amendment rules are also terribly vague. If the process of creating voting districts was meant to be foolproof, some sort of formula based on population or geography could have been created.

Instead of creating legislation to hide behind and blame if things go wrong, it would be better if the voters see the results of their legislators wheeling and dealing. Let lawmakers do what they will, and then hold them accountable when they make a district that is 99.99% republican, or split up a third party so they will not achieve more than 5% of the vote. This is preferable to a false sense of security that a just and equitable system is in place. Vote no.

Number Six: Article III, section 20

STANDARDS FOR LEGISLATURE TO FOLLOW IN CONGRESSIONAL REDISTRICTING

Ballot summary: Legislative districts or districting plans may not be drawn to favor or disfavor an incumbent or political party. Districts shall not be drawn to deny racial or language minorities the equal opportunity to participate in the political process and elect representatives of their choice. Districts must be contiguous. Unless otherwise required, districts must be compact, as equal in population as feasible, and where feasible must make use of existing city, county and geographical boundaries. Financial Impact statement: The fiscal impact cannot be determined precisely. State government and state courts may incur additional costs if litigation increases beyond the number or complexity of cases which would have occurred in the amendment’s absence.

LPOC Opinion : The LPOC opinion on this matter is identical to the one regarding STANDARDS FOR LEGISLATURE TO FOLLOW IN LEGISLATIVE REDISTRICTING previously stated. Vote no.

Number Eight: Article IX, section 1 and Article XII, section 31

REVISION OF THE CLASS SIZE REQUIREMENTS FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Ballot summary: The Florida Constitution currently limits the maximum number of students assigned to each teacher in public school classrooms in the following grade groupings: for prekindergarten through grade 3, 18 students; for grades four through 8, 22 students; and for grades 9 through 12, 25 students. Under this amendment, the current limits on the maximum number of students assigned to each teacher, by specified grade grouping, in each public school. This amendment also adopts new limits on the maximum number of students assigned to each teacher in an individual classroom as follows: for prekindergarten through grade 3, 21 students; for grades 4 through 8, 27 students; and for grades 9 through 12, 30 students. This amendment specifies that class size limits do not apply to virtual classes, requires the Legislature to provide sufficient funds to maintain the average number of students required by this amendment, and schedules these revisions to take effect upon approval by the electors of this state and to operate retroactively to the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year.

LPOC Opinion: This is another example of an amendment that voters would be better off it were not on the ballot because both a yes or no vote works against the voters interest. The thought that something as managerial as class size is on a state constitution referendum is direct evidence of centralized state planning run amok.

Education has been a state monopoly for so long, and supported by so many discriminatory acts of legislation (such as double taxing the home schooled and those who send their children to private school, and the state determining school standards for everyone) that Americans are beginning to forget that there is any other way. Monopolies always end in excessive costs and poor performance because they are not responsive to the needs of their clients, the students. A state monopoly is even worse because it uses the power of taxation (a very deep pocket) to keep institutions operating that otherwise would close. The solution to the problems of education is to open it up to competition.

This amendment is really about state power – the power to tax, the power to decide for everyone, the power to make one size fit all, the power to eliminate competition, and the ridiculous power to make every Floridian vote on the class size, thereby legitimizing the monopoly.

Vote yes – Allowing larger class size will at least give some flexibility to the system presumably saving money.

Federal Budget Advisory Question

SHOULD CONGRESS ADD AN AMENDMENT TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION REQUIRING A BALANCED FEDERAL BUDGET?

LPOC Opinion: We detest the idea of a government that continually borrows beyond its means (and thereby threatens the stability of its currency and the freedom of its children who must pay the bill), but there are circumstances in a limited government where temporary borrowing, beyond tax receipts, is both necessary and warranted. The most obvious is war brought about by invasion or other attack, and another can be a catastrophic natural disaster requiring temporary state relief.

Another item to consider is the nature of money in our modern world. Although the LPOC does not agree with it, borrowing, especially by government, is a critical part of the current monetary system based on debt. All money is borrowed into existence, and without both public and private borrowing our economic system would crash immediately (as opposed to the slow motion crash it is experiencing now, caused by too much debt.)

Vote no – this advisory question tries to fix budget problems by set rules instead of the collective good wits of the members of Congress. Think about such methods applied in the past such as the Gramm-Rudman Act, which is still the law, but now, apparently, bypassed or ignored. Such methods always create more problems than they solve. Hold your representative accountable instead through the ballot box.