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Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, questions Molly McKinstry, Deputy Secretary at the Agency for Health Care Administration, during a Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee meeting Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017 at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. (Photo by Phil Sears)

Influence

Senate at odds with House, governor on proposal that limits tax hikes

A Senate panel on Monday pushed forward a bill that would make it harder for future lawmakers to raise taxes, but also put the upper chamber at odds with the House and Gov. Rick Scott.

The proposal by Republican Sen. Kelli Stargel is less stringent than the version passed by the House last week. Under Stargel’s proposal (SB 1742), the Legislature would require a three-fifths vote to pass any type of tax or fee hike.

“If there is an emergency, we are going to pass something easily,” the Lakeland Republican said.

In the House, the supermajority vote proposal (HJR 7001) is stricter and would require a two-thirds vote before any tax increase can pass through the Legislature.

Both proposals, if passed, would be a change to the state constitution, meaning it would need 60 percent voter approval in November.

Opponents of the measures say the Republican-controlled Legislature would “hamstring” the state if it faces any financial emergency in the future. Others slammed the proposal as a “campaign bumper sticker.”

Gov. Rick Scott, who will be pushed out of office this year by term limits and is expected to run for the U.S. Senate, has been a strong proponent of the fiscally-conservative proposal. He has pushed for the plan in both the Legislature and the Constitutional Revision Commission.

Scott is in favor of the House version and hopes the Senate will adopt it, said McKinley Lewis, a spokesman for the governor.

Written By

Ana covers politics and policy Before joining the News Service of Florida she wrote for the Naples Daily News and was the legislative relief reporter for The Associated Press and covered policy issues impacting immigration, the environment, criminal justice and social welfare in Florida. She holds a B.A. in journalism from San Diego State University. After graduating in 2014, she worked as a criminal justice reporter for the Monterey Herald and the Monterey County Weekly. She has also freelanced for The Washington Post at the U.S.-Mexico border covering crime in the border city of Tijuana, where she grew up. Ana is fluent in Spanish and has intermediate proficiency in Portuguese.

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