As the final ballots are counted and the dust settles over the midterms, people on every end of the political spectrum are now asking themselves, “What’s next?” While we wait for our new incumbents to develop their strategies for the economy, everyday Florida voters can begin looking at how the newly passed amendments will affect them in the coming months.
- The Future of Tax Raises
Amendment 5 will affect the future of Florida tax law for years to come. The new law calls for a two-thirds majority in the Legislature in order to pass to make any state-wide tax change. It also stops any tax reform measures from being added to other state bills.
- The End of a Gambling Era
Amendment 13 is a win for animal rights activists around the country, but also an enormous hit to the gambling community (11 of the remaining 17 greyhound racing tracks in the United States are in Florida). Tracks will have to close by 2020, affecting jobs and taxes revenue in the surrounding community and flooding animal shelters with newly released greyhounds.
- The Shift in Florida Gambling
Amendment 3, on the other hand, will take casino expansion away from the Florida legislature. The positive of this amendment is the fact that communities that want to expand gambling in their areas will no longer rely on government negotiations. However, it may also make the expansion harder as most voters may want to keep tourism “family friendly” and keep casino competition low.
- An Increase in Sales Tax for Hillsborough
While county tax hikes are not state-wide amendments, it’s important to also keep your eye on. Hillsborough County residents also approved of two sales tax increases during this year’s midterms. Taxes will rise to 8.5% on Jan. 1 and residents with the average county income ($55,000) can expect to pay an extra $180 per year in taxes.
The first is a penny on the dollar increase over the next 30 years, a plan that will raise approximately $276 million per year to improve roads, interstates, and mass-transit. The second, while a small half-cent over the next 10 years, will have a major impact on public schools in of roof and AC repairs. As of August, 159 schools needed air conditioning repairs in Hillsborough.