Breaking Highlands county news, local sports and events, and weather from Highlands Today | | Highlands Today
Monday, Aug 03, 2015

Voters must cast votes carefully on ballot measures

Highlands Today Highlands Today
Published:   |   Updated: May 3, 2013 at 08:52 AM

Measure 4

Also known as Hometown Democracy, this measure would require voters to cast ballots before local government can make changes to the comprehensive land use plan. The idea was to make an extra step in changing the comprehensive land use plan because some people believe elected lawmakers side with developers rather than citizens.

We don't support this measure, although we understand the frustration supporters feel. However, voters can have a say in these kinds of land use decisions on many more levels by making sure they elect good representatives and giving the boot to bad ones. Too many people without knowledge of these land use plans will be allowed to vote. That is no way for good decisions to be made. Voters already hold the key. If voters can't make the correct decisions on whom to elect, then how can they make good decisions on complex land use laws? And the last thing anyone needs is for outside money to flow into this process. The side with the most money usually wins.

We support a no vote on Measure 4.

Measure 8

This measure adjusts the number of students allowed under the current class-size amendment to the state constitution. Instead of a hard number required per teacher, this measure allows an average to be used instead and for the numbers to be increased slightly.

We support this measure because the current class-size amendment is too draconian and expensive. In a perfect world with limitless revenue the current law would be fine, but forcing a new classroom and teacher because a class is one student too many is inflexible and unworkable.

We want the Legislature to support schools and believe Floridians understand that quality education is a priority. However, setting impossible requirements has backed our state into the corner and is something we cannot afford. We urge a yes vote on Measure 8.

Measure 2

This measure would provide an additional homestead exemption for members of the U.S. military or military reserves who were deployed outside the U.S. for military operations the previous year. This would be for any military members who already receive a homestead exemption.

We support this measure because so many members of our military struggle paying bills and keeping up while they are stationed in war zones. It makes sense to help them.

We also, however, believe there is a limit to how many exemptions that can be made with the homestead tax. It's an unfair method of taxation, which becomes more unfair with each extra exemption that's added to it. But if anyone deserves an exemption, it's active duty military men and women deployed overseas in war zones. That's why we support this measure.