With early voting under way in Florida, the state's former governor, Jeb Bush, has come out swinging, urging voters to say "no" to three of seven constitutional amendments on the ballot this year.
He warns that if these proposals pass they will harm taxpayers,
undermine the state's economy and hurt democratic values.
“The concerns these proposals raise are worthy of serious consideration by Floridians,” Bush writes in a recent op-ed piece.
Bush urges the defeat of Amendment 4, which requires voter approval of all changes to local comprehensive land-use plans.
“It has the potential to completely stall our economy, making it harder to create and grow jobs and to responsibly manage growth in our beautiful state,” Bush writes.
“One city in Florida that tried a similar local law has found that the idea – which initially sounded good to local voters – has caused years of costly litigation that burdens taxpayers and drives jobs and business elsewhere. If Amendment 4 does not work in a city of 10,000 people, it is hard to imagine that it will work in a state of 18 million. I'll vote no.”
Amendment 4 has been backed by trial and special-interest lawyers who are expected to reap millions if the proposed amendment passes.
Bush also opposes Amendments 5 and 6, which would change the way Florida draws legislative and congressional district boundaries.
“While not perfect, Florida's system of representative democracy has resulted in one of the most diverse groups of elected officials in the nation and increased minority participation in government,” Bush states.
“Amendments 5 and 6 could potentially jeopardize the progress Florida has made in creating opportunities for all individuals to serve in their government. The non-partisan James Madison Institute says that enactment of these proposed amendments would likely result in protracted litigation and districts that are ultimately devised by judges rather than elected representatives.”
Bush says he is voting yes on Amendment 1, which repeals public campaign financing for statewide candidates who agree to spending limits.
“Tax dollars should be spent in the classroom, on protecting public safety and providing a safety net for our most vulnerable citizens, not on welfare for politicians,” Bush’s Tampa Tribune piece declares.
He is also backing Amendment 2, which provides a homestead exemption for active-duty military and National Guard who spent the previous year deployed overseas, and on Amendment 8, which revises the Class Size Amendment of 2002 limiting the number of students assigned to each teacher.
Bush says: “While admirable in its goals, the impact has been devastating: reduced dollars in the classroom, fewer resources to pay teachers and a false sense we are improving the quality of education through class size reductions. Amendment 8, the ‘Right Size Class Size’ amendment, changes maximum numbers to a school-wide average, maintaining smaller class size but freeing up dollars to focus on our students. I am voting yes.”
To summarize, Bush urges Florida voters to say "no" on Amendments 4, 5, and 6.
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