Can Rick Scott command the water management district governing boards to change their property tax level by 25%? Aside from this being a bad idea, no known provision of Florida law gives him that authority. In fact, if the governor seriously tried to set tax levels for the water management districts, he would run afoul of one of the bedrock principles of Florida taxation—no statewide property tax.
Sectjon 18 of Article VII of the Florida constitution forbids a state property tax:
No tax shall be levied except in pursuance of law. No state ad valorem taxes shall be levied upon real estate or tangible personal property.
If the governor actually had the authority to command the districts to cut taxes by a certain amount, he could just as well direct them to raise taxes by the same or an even greater amount. He would, on his own executive authority, be levying an ad valorem tax “upon real estate or tangible personal property.” The state constitution forbids the attempt.
However, a quite remarkable coincidence might be ahead. When Scott appoints enough new members of governing boards of the water management districts, will the boards somehow decide spontaneously to reduce the millage rate by 25%?