Congress passed a series of laws known as the Reconstruction Acts in 1867. These laws required the former Confederate states to dissolve existing state governments, register all eligible men (white or African-American) to vote, and then hold conventions to create new state constitutions. To be readmitted to the United States, each state’s constitution had to accept the end of slavery and adopt the 14th amendment, which guaranteed equal rights for all men, regardless of race. Florida’s voters selected delegates to a state constitutional convention in November 1867. The convention met on January 20, 1868, and the new constitution was ratified by the voters the following May.
To provide the Means of Defraying the Expenses of this Convention.
Be it ordained by the people of Florida in Convention assembled, That this Convention does hereby levy and assess a tax of one-fifth of one per cent. on all the taxable property of this State for the purpose of defraying the expenses of this Convention, and the compensation of officers and members thereof; and it shall be the duty of the tax collector in the several counties in this State to collect the tax so assessed, on or before the first day of January, A. D. 1869, and to pay the same to the Treasurer of the State immediately upon the collection thereof, and that the collector shall collect the same in accordance with the laws of the State of Florida for the collection of State taxes.
Be it further ordained, That the Comptroller shall issue to the tax collectors all necessary orders for the collection and payment of the aforesaid tax, which order shall be binding upon said tax collectors.
Be it further ordained, That the tax collectors shall receive the same per cent. as they are now allowed by law for collecting the State tax.
Be it further ordained, That the Governor of this State is hereby empowered and authorized to issue bonds bearing eight per cent. interest per annum, payable upon the first day of March, A. D. 1869, in such sums as he may deem expedient, not exceeding in amount thirty thousand dollars, which shall be redeemed out of the proceeds of said special tax when collected, and the financial agent, for the purpose of defraying the immediate expenses of this Convention, is hereby empowered to dispose of the said bonds, and to pay from the proceeds thereof such accounts as may be audited by the finance committee, and deposit the balance, if any, with the Treasurer of the State.
Be it further ordained, That the Governor of the State of Florida is hereby requested, authorized, and directed to issue certificates of indebtedness to the full amount of ten thousand dollars, which certificates of indebtedness shall be receivable for the tax levied under this ordinance, and all State dues; such certificates shall bear the impress of the seal of the State Treasurer, and shall be in such amounts as the Governor may deem expedient.
Passed in open Convention, February 21, A. D. 1868.
HORATIO JENKINS, JR., President.
SHERMAN CONANT, Secretary.