ST PETERSBURG — It’s a little discussed amendment aimed at helping injured first responders, and it’s up for your vote on November 8th. But not everyone’s on board. 10News political reporter Mark Rivera breaks down Amendment 3 to you
KNOW YOUR VOTE: Amendment 3 focuses on tax breaks for permanently disabled first responders injured in the line of duty.
First responders like former St. Petersburg Firefighter Bradley Westphal.
“We had a three man engine, so I was in by myself. I went to move a big china cabinet. It started to come back at me, I pushed it up, and I felt my whole back - burning sensation down my legs,” Westphal said. “It just was sharp stabbing pains all the way down my leg.”
Westphal has had four back surgeries, three left knee surgeries, “because I keep falling. I can't feel my left leg. But I live with pain all day, all night. You can't sleep. It's terrible.”
He and his lawyer Jason Fox say most firefighters who get permanently hurt on the job lose most of their income.
They have to pay people to do simple things around the house like cutting the grass.
“You never think you're going to get hurt. And having a tax break on your property that can make a big difference,” Westphalsaid.
Amendment 3 opponents say this is one of many special tax exemptions already.
They say instead of giving more breaks, lawmakers should work to make the tax system fair for everyone - this just puts more burden on the rest of the community to fund local governments and public schools.
Here's the bottom line a yes vote means permanently disabled first responders injured on duty will get a 100% break on their property taxes.
A no vote will deny those tax breaks to first responders.
(© 2016 WTSP)