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Fla. Senate Passes State Spending Cap

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(AP)

(AP)

Legislative Session Coverage

TALLAHASSEE (CBS4) – The Florida Senate has passed a proposed constitutional amendment that will effectively cap how much money the legislature can tax and spend.

A similar proposal was passed in Colorado in the 1990’s. It was a complete failure because during tough economic times, the legislature had to make deep, painful cuts to vital services. Colorado voters eventually suspended the cap in 2005.

The proposed amendment would cap state revenues increases at inflation plus population growth. Critics said the move is an attempt by the current legislature to set the limits future legislatures would face during any time except emergencies, like after a hurricane.

Lawmakers would be allowed to exceed the spending cap with a supermajority vote, or could ask voters to exceed the cap.

Critics of the bill said the “Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights,” could tarnish the state’s credit rating as investors worry over a cap on the state’s ability to generate revenue.

The bill passed on a 27-13 vote with Democrat Bill Montford of Tallahassee joining the Republican majority while Republicans Paula Dockery and Nancy Detert joining the Democrats in dissent.

Once passed by the Florida House, the amendment will be placed on the ballot and require 60 percent of voters to approve the measure.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service Of Florida contributed to this report.)

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