On Monday morning, the Orlando City Council received their annual post state legislative session update, which reviewed the bills passed by lawmakers this year and how it effects the city. The presentation comes days before state lawmakers return to Tallahassee for a special session this week.
Like many other local governments around the state, the city council was not pleased with some of bills passed by state lawmakers that they believe steps on their ability to govern or “Home rule” powers.
“It was certainly a frontal attack on city governments and their ability to exercise home rule.” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, before calling on different lobbyists with the city to identify “The damage inflicted.”
In recent years, state lawmakers have been passing policies that prohibits local governments from regulating different industries with local ordinances. This year legislation passed that would allow telecommunication companies to use local towers and poles with little interference from the municipalities.
There have also been concerns over a constitutional ballot amendment that will go before voters and if passed would allow the homestead tax exemption to be increased from $50,000 to $75,000. A move local government anticipate will cost them millions.
Dyer was not alone in his criticisms of the state legislature as different members of the council took turns voicing their frustrations.
“Don’t mess with out city.” said District 3 Commissioner Robert Stuart “We know our cities better than the state does.”
State lawmakers are calling many of the bills in question, regulations that brings businesses and jobs to the region. They are billing the Homestead Tax Exemption increase as the biggest tax cut in the state’s history.
A special session has been called for this week, where lawmakers will return to Tallahassee to work on education and the Governor’s controversial economic programs, which many local governments also support.
The Orlando City Council’s objections joins opposition from neighboring Seminole and Osceola Counties. This includes plans from some local lawmakers to take their concerns to the voters.
“I think it’s time for us to utilized the power of the people.” said District 2 Commissioner Tony Ortiz “At the end of the day it’ our people that vote and we need to make sure people are aware of what’s going on.”