BRADENTON, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court yesterday reversed itself and said it is constitutional for tax increment financing bonds to be issued without first holding a public referendum, upholding decades of case law on the issue in the state.

The long-awaited ruling in the case known as Strand v. Escambia, and two other pending TIF cases before the state's high court, paves the way for Escambia County to issue $135 million of TIF bonds to widen a road in Florida's panhandle. Communities in the other pending cases can collectively issue more than $100 million of TIF bonds for more traditional economic development projects.

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