Op-ed Contributor Houck: Read Warning Label, Vote No on 4

By | October 27th, 2010 | 5 Comments

On Tuesday, Nov. 2, Floridians will vote on several potentially game-changing amendments, including Amendment 4. Activists for and against Amendment 4 say its fate at the polls will impact Florida profoundly, and both sides have spent millions of dollars in the run up to the election. Since many Miamians remain hazy on the details, we asked the leading group on either side of the A4 debate to explain its position to Beached Miami readers. Here, Ryan Houck, leader of the Vote No on 4 campaign, explains why a vote for Amendment 4 is a vote for high taxes, low employment, and nonstop litigation. (Click HERE to read an op-ed by Amendment 4 champion Lesley Blackner.)

You have probably seen those tiny warning labels on the side of pill bottles, cigarettes, and credit offers. Well, here’s the warning label on Amendment 4, straight from its official Financial Impact Statement: “expenditures cannot be estimated precisely.” It means that they can’t tell us what it costs—and you know what that means: They’re asking for a blank check.

The special interest lawyers who bankrolled Amendment 4 say that their idea is “really simple” and that they “just want to give the voters a seat at the table.” What they don’t tell you is that these same lawyers make money suing taxpayers—and that they stand to make millions from the passage of Amendment 4. In fact, the non-profit, non-partisan Florida TaxWatch reports that the litigation costs of Amendment 4 could exceed $1 billion statewide.

And who gets stuck with the bill? We do—with higher taxes, fewer jobs, and endless litigation at taxpayer expense. According to a study conducted by The Washington Economics Group (WEG), Amendment 4 would likely cost Florida over a quarter-of-a-million jobs. Professor Tony Villamil, the lead economist for WEG, stated, “Amendment 4’s passage will have potentially devastating consequences to Florida’s economy.” Villamil’s report indicates that Amendment 4 would further damage our economy by killing jobs and raising unemployment at a time when Florida’s working families and small businesses can least afford it.

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