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PAC organizes to oppose tax amendments 1, 5

Two tax-related proposed constitutional amendments, placed on the November ballot by the Legislature, would shift the burden from the wealthy and corporations to working families, a newly formed political action committee complained Monday.

Floridians for Tax Fairness, registered with the state on Wednesday by the League of Women Voters of Florida, Florida Education Association, AFSCME, Progress Florida and Sierra Club of Florida, issued a written statement denouncing Amendments 1 and 5.

Amendment 1 would not provide any relief to the majority of property owners in our state,” campaign chairman Joseph Pennisi said.

“Tax breaks to benefit the wealthiest homeowners shift even more of the burden for essential government services like public safety onto lower and middle-income homeowners, and renters who can’t afford to own a home,” he said.

Pennisi is executive director of the Florida Policy Institute, a think tank, although he plans to retire this month.

That proposed amendment would increase the homestead exemption on homes worth more than $100,000 — meaning those with less expensive homes would pay more of their fair share, the coalition said. Additionally, it could cost local governments nearly $690 million, according to a Florida Association of Counties estimate.

The Senate gave final approval to placing the item on the ballot during the 2017 session, in a deal that secured House approval for expanding gambling.

Amendment 5 would make any legislation imposing new or increased taxes or fees contingent on a two-thirds vote by the House and Senate.

“Passage of this amendment means any attempt to eliminate special tax breaks for profitable corporations would be easily blocked by a few bought-and-paid-for politicians,” the group said.

“Florida currently has the wrong priorities. We’ve given special tax breaks to big corporations instead of funding education, health care, public safety, and other services that benefit our families, communities, and economy,” Pennisi said.

“Amendment 5 is a dream come true for career politicians and their large corporate benefactors because it would make it nearly impossible to close corporate tax loopholes and end the special treatment of the wealthiest taxpayers in the state.”

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