Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
Fla. Const. art. VII, § 9(a) permits the legislature to authorize counties to levy non-ad valorem taxes, of whatever form or description, but only by general law.
Plaintiff county and its municipalities entered into an interlocal agreement specifying that the surtax proceeds of Fla. Stat. ch. 212.055(2) be used to operate and maintain a county-wide recreational program. Although Fla. Stat. ch. 212.055(2)(d) prohibited that use, a special law, 1994 Fla. Laws ch. 94-487 authorized plaintiff county to use the surtax revenues for that purpose. Taxpayer disputed the constitutionality of 1994 Fla. Laws ch. 94-487 and threatened legal action to enjoin the pending referendum on the surtax. Plaintiff county filed a declaratory judgment action seeking a declaration of the legality of the surtax and the interlocal agreement. The trial court held that 1994 Fla. Laws ch. 94-487 was an unlawful special act. The court of appeal affirmed. Plaintiff county and plaintiff city appealed.
Was 1994 Fla. Laws ch. 94-487 unconstitutional?
The Court affirmed the decision of the lower courts, holding that 1994 Fla. Laws ch. 94-487, a special act relating to plaintiff county, purported to amend section 212.055(2), a general taxing statute, to levy the surtax for uses that were not only not permitted to any other county but were also positively prohibited to all counties. In face of the unambiguous restrictions imposed by article VII, section 1(a) and article VII, section 9(a) of the Florida Constitution, the Court declared chapter 94-487 to be unconstitutional.