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House looks to restrict dates of tax referendums

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A House panel Wednesday approved a bill that would prevent local governments from holding sales-tax referendums during primary and special elections.

The bill (HB 139), sponsored by Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill, would only allow such referendums to be held on the dates of November general elections. Ingoglia said primary and special elections often have lower voter turnout than general elections.

"I believe we need to change the way we ask constituents to tax themselves," Ingoglia, who also is chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, said before the House Local, Federal & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee approved the measure.

Lobbyists for the Florida League of Cities and the Florida Association of Counties said they have worked with Ingoglia on the issue.

"We completely understand what he is trying to get at," said Amber Hughes, a lobbyist for the League of Cities.

Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, has filed the Senate version of the bill (SB 278) for the legislative session that starts March 7.