Breaking down the amendments – 4, 6, 8

Amendment 4
On first glance, the land conservation tax break amendment seems like it has both the environment and taxpayer’s interests at heart. It would allow for a 100 percent reduction in property taxes upon agreement that the land will be kept in its natural state, in perpetuity.

This appears to be an excellent step toward conserving natural lands. Unfortunately for the state, the amendment may end up draining the coffers more than expected, resulting in a larger burden on an already stressed budget.

The second part of the amendment would allow for “temporary conservation” — a rather pitiful oxymoron.

The cynic in me speculates that landowners will buy up swaths of property and wait to develop it until the first signs of a housing market recovery. The previously “conserved” property then turns into a lucrative investment sweetened by tax breaks. If the amendment passes, lawmakers will need to ensure that no loopholes exist before people take advantage of the well-intentioned system. 

If the government wants to conserve the environment they should do so within state statutes and not by means of a costly amendment. Bribing property owners to save Florida’s dwindling natural environment with tax breaks is a copout. 

I vote no.

Amendment 6
This waterfront tax break proposition is a step in the right direction for property appraisal. It is absurd that a business owner who happens to be situated on the water has to pay taxes based on the land’s potential value.

Measuring anything by its potential rather than its current value is probably one of the worst methods of assessment — if only we could get foreign countries to do this with the dollar.

For these reasons, I vote yes.

Amendment 8
The passing of the community college funding would allow counties — upon approval by voters within the county — to add an additional sales tax to fund community colleges. This expands democratic choice locally, allowing individual communities to decide if — and how much of — their tax money should be spent on additional funding. If passed, the taxes must expire at a minimum of five years and are subject to additional approval.

Some have expressed fears that this amendment may give the state an excuse to cut funding for community colleges. These cynical speculations shouldn’t go unconsidered. Still, the honorable case for strengthening localized democracy outweighs pessimistic conjecture.

To better support community colleges, I vote yes.

Daniel Dunn is a junior majoring in philosophy.