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FLORIDA CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS // AMENDMENT 1

He calls it a "firewall" against a personal income tax.

Florida voters in November will have the chance to either add David Biddulph's anti-tax Amendment 1 to the state's Constitution or send the Tax Cap Committee chairman home disappointed.

"There's no tax or fee that's in the Constitution today," Biddulph says. "Our feeling is before we put something there, it should be something that has overwhelming popular appeal because of the permanence of the Constitution."

Amendment 1 would require that any Constitutional amendment imposing a tax be ratified by a two-thirds vote, instead of the majority vote currently required.

Biddulph's movement has plenty of opponents.

Some, including the League of Women Voters of Florida, say it would clutter the Constitution, which should be a general, easy-to-follow document.

Others say it is a dangerous step toward making any kind of taxation too difficult for government.

"Their amendment is bad public policy," says Charles Lee, vice president of the Florida Audubon Society. "Generally majority votes are the way most democratic votes ought to be handled."

But Biddulph accuses his opponents of hoping the state will someday impose an income tax.

"The average family's having trouble making ends meet," he says. "The things we see state and local government doing with our money is a problem. It's not that we don't believe we need taxes to support services. (The problem is) the special interest spending."

The Tax Cap Committee is getting hundreds of thousands of dollars from the state's sugar industry, which hopes Amendment 1 will guard against Amendment 4 _ a penny-per pound tax on raw sugar to raise money for cleaning up the Everglades.

Sugar officials and Biddulph say that if the Tax Cap amendment passes, the Save Our Everglades amendment would need at least a two-thirds vote to pass. Officials from Save Our Everglades Inc. disagree, and contend the matter will be resolved in court.

"It's just a perfect example of political cynicism," Save Our Everglades spokesman Joe Garcia said of Big Sugar's support for Amendment 1. "They're using a group, the Florida Tax Cap Committee, to try to thwart the will of the public."

_ PETER WALLSTEN

AMENDMENT SUMMARY

Requires that any constitutional amendment imposing a tax be ratified by a two-thirds vote, instead of the currently required majority vote.

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