Citizen activist group leads campaign to limit growth of government
Florida - 3/20/02 - On March 19, 2002, the Florida House of Representatives passed HJR 87, "The Limitation on State Appropriations Amendment," to limit the growth of government to a sustainable level. Passage of this legislation was at the top of Florida Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE)'s issue agenda for 2002.. Introduced by State Representative Rob Wallace (R-Tampa), the bill would limit state spending to the previous year's appropriation plus an adjustment for growth. The growth adjustment would be calculated with a simple formula that adds the growth of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to Florida's population growth. This new spending limit would take effect January 1, 2003 if State Representative Wallace's amendment passes both houses of the state legislature by wide margins and is approved by Florida voters in the November 2002 general election.
Florida CSE has spent the last several months on the ground and in the media educating and mobilizing activists in favor of State Representative Wallace's joint resolution, and against State Senator John McKay's (R-Bradenton) tax proposal that, while lowering the state sales tax from 6 to 4 percent, would have broadened the tax base by ending exemptions on many items and services. Florida CSE staff and activists crisscrossed the state encouraging citizens to testify at hearings in Orlando and Tampa, appear on radio talk radio programs to discuss the issue, and participate in Florida CSE's "Day at the Capitol," where more than 140 activists traveled to Tallahassee to personally lobby their state legislators. When everything was said and done, our activists generated more than 600 letters, emails, faxes, and phone calls in support of State Representative Wallace's joint resolutions.
Almost forty states are facing budget shortfalls and are considering new tax increases as a solution. CSE is fighting to stop new tax increases at the state and local level all across the country. In just the first three months of the year, CSE activists, by traveling to state capitols, sending letters, emails and making phone calls have stopped tax increases in Florida, Alabama, and Oregon.
The Wallace Amendment that passed yesterday with the help of grassroots pressure from CSE represents a smarter, fairer alternative to raising taxes. After a decade of big spending increases at the state level, it is time for some fiscal discipline. CSE will continue to put citizen pressure on state legislatures to reject new taxes and to find ways to cut wasteful spending. For more information on CSE's efforts to fight tax increases across the nation, visit us at http://www.cse.org/informed/key_template.php?issue_it=16.
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