Villamil: Beware the "good intentions" of Amendment 5
As speakers on both sides of Amendment 5 were using education funding to boost their case earlier this week in Pinellas, a veteran economist turned business school dean was discussing the controversial proposal in Jacksonville with the board that oversees the state's 11 universities.
Antonio "Tony" Villamil, who served as chief economist for the first President Bush's administration and later did similar work for Gov. Jeb Bush in Florida, stressed the need to determine whether the state is experiencing a severe cyclical downturn or if it has reached a turning point where economic and demographic growth will be much slower than in the previous decade.
If it's the former, said Villamil, who on Aug. 1 became dean of the School of Business at Miami's St. Thomas University, the state needs to be wary that its "good intentions" of trying to solve a cyclical problem could create future problems – and a host of unintended consequences.
"The danger with the kind of downturn we have is that we make serious policy mistakes," Villamil said. "We are building into the Constitution a tax swap that will be very difficult to get out of in the future."
- Donna Winchester, higher education reporter