Florida TaxWatch Report Urges The Legislature To Stop Diverting Affordable Housing Funding
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida’s premier, independent government watchdog of forty years, Florida TaxWatch, has released a new research report about the state’s affordable housing crisis. In the Sunshine State, there are only 26 affordable and available housing units for every 100 “extremely low-income” renter households. This is the sixth-smallest percentage of available units in the nation and well below the national average of 36 percent.
A lack of affordable housing harms the health and educational prospects of children, limits the self-sufficiency of the elderly and those with special needs, and increases costs associated with the homeless population. In addition, many hardworking Floridians are finding it difficult to live in the communities in which they work. Median incomes do not match median home prices, putting home ownership out of reach for people with critical jobs like firefighters, EMTs, police, and teachers.
In 1992, the Legislature created a dedicated source of funding to address the need for affordable housing, and in 2017, they created the Affordable Housing Workgroup that later recommended all Housing Trust Fund dollars should be appropriated to the State and Local Government Housing Trust Funds solely for affordable housing programs. However, the 2018 Legislature swept $182 million from the funds, while appropriating only $123.6 million for affordable housing programs.
“Nearly two million low-income households are paying more than 30 percent of their incomes for housing in the state of Florida,” said Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic M. Calabro.“The William E. Sadowski Act was intended to protect a dependable revenue source to fund vital affordable housing programs. The Legislature should stop dipping into the Housing Trust Fund dollars and fulfill that promise.”
For the first time in more than ten years, the Florida Senate is proposing to not sweep housing trust funds and instead fully fund affordable housing. However, the House is proposing to sweep $200 million, while spending only $124 million on affordable housing.
“More money is being swept from the housing trust funds than is being spent on housing,” said Florida TaxWatch Vice President of Research Kurt Wenner. “Over the last ten years, the Legislature has swept nearly $1.4 billion from the funds, while spending only $882 million on housing. Florida TaxWatch urges the House to follow the Senate’s lead and agree to not sweep Sadowski funds in the new budget.”
Read the FULL report here.
About Florida TaxWatch
As an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit government watchdog & taxpayer research institute for forty years, the trusted eyes and ears of Florida taxpayers, Florida TaxWatch, works to improve the productivity and accountability of Florida government. Its research recommends productivity enhancements and explains the statewide impact of fiscal and economic policies and practices on citizens and businesses. Florida TaxWatch is supported by voluntary, tax-deductible donations and private grants, and does not accept government funding. Donations provide a solid, lasting foundation that has enabled Florida TaxWatch to bring about a more effective, responsive government that is more accountable to, and productive for, the citizens it serves since 1979. For more information, please visit http://www.floridataxwatch.org.