(The Center Square) – A $2.5 billion bond referendum for infrastructure and climate change mitigation is being proposed for voter approval this November by Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
“The state of the county is strong,” she said in a speech Wednesday. “We got here today because we were brave in the face of adversity, we were bold in the face of uncertainty, and we were courageous in laying the foundation for the future.”
The referendum is still subject to approval by the Miami-Dade Commission. If approved by voters in November, the bonds would be repaid with property tax revenue.
“This bond will be a once-in-a-generation investment in infrastructure, preparing Miami-Dade County for a thriving future,” Commissioner Danielle Cohen Higgins said in a statement. “I’m proud to partner with the mayor in an effort that will transform our county for generations to come.”
Efforts were unsuccessful by The Center Square to get comments from the mayor and Cohen Higgins about how the bond refrendum, if approved, would affect property taxes.
The money would be used for housing, septic-to-sewer conversions, flood prevention, and “more resilient parks in every corner of the county,” a news release said.
The nonprofit group, Florida TaxWatch, declined to comment specifically on the bond referendum. However a spokeswoman pointed to a report by the group last year entitled, “Florida Voters Continue to Say Yes to Proposed Tax Increases.”
According to that report, Florida voters approved $2.2 billion in tax referenda and $1.4 in bond issues in 2021 and 2022.
“At the state level, taxpayers in Florida have enjoyed tax cuts passed by the Legislature every year since 2009,” the organization said. “However, at the local level, Florida voters continue to vote to significantly increase the taxes they pay. A 2021 Florida TaxWatch report discovered that since 2010, Floridians voted to increase their own taxes 142 times. This includes voting to extend existing expiring tax levies.”
While the state of Florida has one of the lowest per capita state revenue collections and tax burden, the same is not true for local government taxation, the report said.
Florida ranks 48th in both per-capita and total state revenue and tax collections, the report said.
“On the other hand, Florida ranks 23rd and 11th in local taxes and revenue, respectively,” it said. “This is often overlooked when Florida’s tax climate is discussed.”
It is important to make sure the money is properly spent, the report concluded.
“Many of the tax referenda in recent years created a citizen oversight committee to monitor the spending of these new dollars,” it said. “This is a great idea and taxpayers need to get involved. Taxpayers should demand this important safeguard.”