September 19, 2008

Florida Supreme Court Reverses Decision Regarding Referendum Approval for Tax Increment Financing

Holland & Knight Alert
Richard B. Stephens | Michael L. Wiener
On September 6, 2007, the Florida Supreme Court held that under the Florida Constitution local governments must obtain referendum approval to issue bonds with a term of more than one year and that are secured by a pledge of tax increment revenues. Strand v. Escambia County, 32 Fla. L. Weekly S550a. The decision receded from 27 years of legal precedent that had previously interpreted the applicable constitutional provision.

On September 18, 2008, the Florida Supreme Court withdrew its previous opinions and issued a substitute opinion. The substitute opinion reverses the opinion delivered on September 6, 2007, and recognizes the long-standing holding in State v. Miami Beach Redevelopment Agency, 392 So. 2d 875 (Fla. 1980), which held that tax increment financing does not involve a pledge of ad valorem taxes and therefore referendum approval is not required under the Florida Constitution.

Click on the following links to view a copy of the opinion and order:

Opinion: http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/decisions/2008/sc06-1894.pdf

Order: http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/decisions/2008/sc06-1894order.pdf

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