Poll: Voters support making it harder to raise taxes

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –  Backed by Gov. Rick Scott and other Republican leaders, a proposed constitutional amendment that would make it harder for the Legislature to raise taxes and fees appears to have broad voter support, a new poll shows.

Lawmakers last week approved a proposed constitutional amendment that, if passed by voters, would require two-thirds votes by the House and Senate to raise taxes and fees in the future. The proposal will go on the November general-election ballot.

While lawmakers were considering the issue, the Tallahassee-based firm Clearview Research polled voters on a largely identical proposal being considered by the state Constitution Revision Commission. The poll found that 64 percent of likely voters support the proposal, while only 29 percent oppose it.

“This is a clear and easy-to-understand measure that seems to have enough support to pass, and without an organized campaign to defeat it, likely will,” Clearview Research President Steve Vancore said in releasing the poll results Wednesday.

Scott and House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’ Lakes, spearheaded efforts to put the proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot. Under current law, lawmakers can generally raise taxes and fees by majority votes.

After the Senate signed off on the proposed constitutional amendment last week, Scott issued a statement saying he looks “forward to this important amendment being on the ballot to protect families from unfair tax increases.”

But the proposal drew opposition from some lawmakers, such as Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez, D-Miami, who said it would “tie the hands” of the Legislature in eventually addressing issues such as sea-level rise and climate change.

“This is designed to make it harder for us to deal with those problems,” Rodriguez said.