Revised growth management statement okay
The Florida Supreme Court says a revised financial impact statement on how much a proposed growth management amendment would cost taxpayers now complies with state law. That decision came in an advisory opinion Thursday to Attorney General Bill McCollum. Citizens' initiatives must have a financial statement that gives voters an idea of how much proposals could cost. The Supreme Court last year ruled an initial statement from state economists was misleading. A group called Florida Hometown Democracy is leading a drive to obtain voter approval for changes in plans that determine how and where cities and counties grow. The group wants it on the 2010 ballot.
Court hands down property tax ruling
An appeals court has ruled that the "Save our Homes" amendment that caps tax assessments on homesteaded property is constitutional. The 1st District Court of Appeal upheld a lower court ruling Wednesday that rejected a challenge by an Alabama couple who own a second home in the Florida Panhandle and claimed the provision was discriminatory. The court said the tax benefit is based on the way the property is used, not on the status of the landowner as a resident or nonresident. Voters passed a constitutional amendment in 1992 that caps property tax increases on primary homes at 3 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower, but does not offer a tax break to nonhomesteaded properties in Florida.
NORTH FORT MYERS
Marine is killed
A Marine from North Fort Myers was killed in Afghanistan. Sgt. Michael C. Roy, 25, who was stationed out of North Carolina, died Wednesday while supporting combat operations in Nimroz province, the Defense Department said. He was assigned to the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command.
More swine flu deaths in Florida
Florida now has seven cases of swine flu deaths. The Florida Health Department says the latest victims were a 55-year-old male from Duval County and a 25-year-old female from Palm Beach County. Spokeswoman Susan Smith said Thursday no further information would be released. Earlier this month, a 19-year-old Pennsylvania woman visiting Orlando died at a hospital from what health officials believe was related to swine flu. The Centers for Disease Control are listing that death as a Pennsylvania swine flu death. Health officials say Florida has 1,781 confirmed cases of swine flu. Three deaths were in Miami-Dade County, one was in Broward County and another one was in Seminole County in the Orlando area.