It Would Allow A Sales Tax – Not A Property Tax
The Tax and Budget Reform Commission (TBRC) of the State of Florida has approved seven proposed Constitutional amendments to appear on the ballot in November. One of these, CP0035, is called Local Option Tax for Community Colleges. This proposed amendment requires the Legislature to authorize a local option sales tax to supplement funding for public community colleges, and to provide a process by law to permit counties to submit a referendum to the voters for a local option sales tax for this purpose.
Under the new amendment, any taxes approved in a referendum would sunset after five years. The amendment pertains to Article VII Finance and Taxation in the State Constitution and would give community colleges taxing authority similar to what local school districts, counties, and municipalities already have.
Miami Dade College, among others, was behind this proposed amendment which allows a referendum similar to one that passed in Dade County in the early ’90s. As I understand it, the following steps would have to occur before a community college could benefit from such a tax.
- The proposed amendment would need to have a 60 percent approval of the voters, statewide, in November of 2008.
- If approved by the voters, the Legislature would need to establish rules that would implement the local option sales tax.
- Once the legislature passes implementing legislation, then the counties would be authorized to place a referendum on the ballot if requested by the board of trustees of the local community college.
- If the referendum passed in each and all of the counties of the college district, then the tax could be collected.
In the coming months, the SFCC Board of Trustees will discuss this proposed amendment and consider a public position with regard to the vote that will occur in November.