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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Chamber poll shows Amendment 5 losing big



Gov. Charlie Crist better get cracking on Amendment 5 because a new poll for the Florida Chamber of Commerce shows only 40 percent of voters support the proposal on the November ballot. It needs 60 percent to pass.

The statewide poll was conducted by Fabrizio McLaughlin and Associates July 20-28 and included 1,600 registered voters. After voters were given the full ballot question, they were asked, "Now, if the statewide election were held today, would you vote Yes to approve the amendment or No to defeat it?"

The results: Yes - 40% // No - 40% // Undecided - 20%.

"We agree that cutting property tax bills by 25 percent is a good thing but who will be taxed to fill the $11-billion hole this amendment will create?" asked David Daniel, the Chamber's vice president of governmental affairs. "It’s uncertainty that we’re against. A more comprehensive option would be to cap government spending.  Our recent polling shows Florida voters share our concerns."

After equivocating on the plan for weeks, Crist said yesterday that he supports it, joining forces with former Senate President John McKay.

The so-called tax swap would eliminate most school property taxes in exchange for a higher sales tax, budget cuts and other revenue. Business groups fear a services tax.

The $11-billion estimate is based on projected figures; other estimates have it at $9-billion. Either way, a 1-cent sales tax increase would generate, at most, $4-billion annually.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 10:05am]


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