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ORLANDO, Fla. – A new economic study conducted by The Washington Economics Group (WEG) affirms that restoring the eligibility to vote for Floridians who have made past mistakes would result in positive economic impacts to Florida taxpayers totaling:
- An annual economic impact of $365 million
- Approximately 3,800 jobs annually
- An increase in annual household income of $151 million for Florida residents
Amendment 4—the Voting Restoration Amendment—is on the ballot this November. Amendment 4 gives Floridians who have made past mistakes the eligibility to vote after they have paid their full debt to society. Business leaders and civic leaders from across the Sunshine State agree – Now is the time to vote YES on Amendment 4 in November.
Carlos Fernandez-Guzman, President & CEO of Pacific National Bank in South Florida and Past Chairman of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce said, “In addition to it being the right thing to do, the passage of Amendment 4 will make Florida a more competitive state. Restoring the eligibility to vote for people who have made a mistake and paid their debt to society helps reintegrate them into the fabric of Florida’s civic and economic life, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of jobs annually. That’s among the many reasons I am proud to join a growing number of business executives who back Amendment Four.”
Reverend Allison DeFoor of Jacksonville, former Monroe County Sheriff and former Vice-Chair of the Republican Party of Florida said, “Allowing citizens to earn back their eligibility to vote gives them a deeper stake in their community, making them less likely to reoffend. Passage of Amendment Four will make our communities safer and let us reduce spending on the criminal justice system. This is a win-win for Florida taxpayers and for all those who believe in the power of redemption.”
Florida taxpayers will see economic benefits from the passage of Amendment 4 because returning citizens who have their eligibility to vote restored are far less likely to reoffend and re-enter the justice system according to studies by the Office of Offender Review and the Florida Parole Commission. Since fewer returning citizens will reoffend, Florida taxpayers will pay less for prison and court costs.
Additionally, restoring eligibility reduces the “employment penalty” that makes it difficult for returning citizens to find gainful employment. WEG estimates that the impact on reintegration as a result of the passage of Amendment 4 would increase potential employment and income for eligible individuals who have made past mistakes. Thus, returning citizens who have their eligibility restored will have increased earning power, and disposable income, to give back to Florida’s economy.
To view the economic study, commissioned by the Alliance for Safety and Justice, CLICK HERE .
Michael Reale, Owner & Operator of Reale Investment Group LLC in Southwest Florida said, “Restoring a person’s eligibility to vote reduces the rate of recidivism. Over time, this decline would reduce the burden on taxpayers and result in a total annual economic impact of $365 million dollars. Amendment 4 promises to provide economic growth to Florida for many years to come.”
Dick Batchelor, CEO of Dick Batchelor Mangement Group in Central Florida said, “Citizens who have their eligibility to vote restored will have increased chances at finding gainful employment and disposable income to give back to Florida’s economy. Amendment 4 would do more than just re-enfranchise people who have earned eligibility—it would also reintegrate them into society and Florida’s economy.”
Seretha Tinsley, Past President of the Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce in Polk County said, “Returning citizens who vote are less likely to re-offend than those who don’t vote. Passing Amendment 4 would save thousands of taxpayer dollars and help people become responsible citizens with increased earning power—all factors that contribute to creating safer communities and a robust economy.”
The economic study comes on the heels of a new bipartisan poll conducted jointly by North Star Opinion Research and EMC Research shows that nearly three-quarters of Florida voters support Amendment 4 – regardless of party, gender, race, or region of the Sunshine State.
Amendment 4 restores the eligibility to vote of Floridians with felony convictions only after they complete all terms of their sentence and pay their full debt to society – including parole, probation, and restitution, if imposed by a judge. Those convicted of murder or felony sexual offenses will not be eligible under Amendment 4.
To learn more about the Second Chances Campaign, please visit www.SecondChancesFL.org.
About The Washington Economics Group
Founded in 1993 in the City of Coral Gables, The Washington Economics Group is a boutique economic consulting firm specializing in comprehensive economic solutions for businesses. For more information, visit http://www.weg.com/
About The Alliance for Safety and Justice
Alliance for Safety and Justice is a national criminal justice reform organization that works with crime survivors and aims to win new safety priorities in states across the country. For more information visit http://www.allianceforsafetyandjustice.org or @SafeandJustUSA.