March 2, 2017 — Affordable housing advocates urged the Legislature Thursday to spend all of the state’s dedicated housing money for its intended purpose, saying that more than 910,000 Floridians pay more than half their income for shelter. Rick Scott has been in a pitched political battle with Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran over the fate of the state’s economic development and tourism marketing agencies.
Representatives of the Sadowski Housing Coalition — including Associated Industries of Florida, AARP, the Florida Realtors Association, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, and the Florida Home Builders Association — appeared during a news conference to make their case. The economy’s improvement after the housing crash generated new buyer demand for housing, even though the homeownership rate remained historically low. Last week Scott said House members who voted to eliminate Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida “didn’t care about jobs.” Hasn’t the governor heard the old warning about throwing stones from glass houses?
In the budget proposal Scott submitted to legislators in December, he called for diverting $224 million from affordable housing trust funds to spend for other purposes.
That’s more than three-quarters of the $292 million projected to flow into the funds next year under a 1992 law that reserves a share of documentary stamp taxes on real-estate transactions to invest in affordable housing. The general sentiment from residents and some government officials is that the rebuilding process has not moved as quickly as many had hoped.
But those dollars are basically stolen by Tallahassee politicians more interested in funding their goals — by explaining the money was needed to balance the state budget. March 2, 2017 — Advocates are marking a 25-year-old tragedy by urging lawmakers to remember the economic dividends of investing in affordable housing. William “Bill” Sadowski was killed in a plane crash in 1992.