Affordable housing advocates are building their case to protect funding during the 2015 Legislative Session.
Thirty statewide organizations, including the Chamber, Florida Home Builders Association and The United Way, released a study Thursday calling for the full appropriation of housing trust funds. They want the money used to build homes working people can afford and provide a boost to the economy.
“Housing equals jobs,” said Jerry Linder, of the homebuilders association.
Linder and about 30 others representing groups in the Sadowski Coalition say that housing is being pitted against the environment for funding as lawmakers work to implement Amendment 1, a water and land conservation initiative and that it doesn’t have to be that way.
Environmental initiatives share money from an excise tax on deeds, bonds and mortgages with the affordable housing and transportation trust funds. Sixteen percent of documentary stamp revenue goes to affordable housing, about 20 percent to transportation and voters said 33 percent shall go to the environment; the remainder is deposited into the general revenue fund account.
CBS Miami explains the competition for the money here.
Among the funding mechanisms being discussed is SB 586, which gives the first 33 percent to Amendment 1 and then divvies up the money. The Sadowski Coalition said the approach would cost housing more than a $100 million. You can read more here.
The discussion was becoming bogged down among the finer points of how money flows into general revenue when Mark Hendrickson walked to a bank of microphone to talk arithmetic.
“It’s not Amendment 1 against housing. It is how doc stamps are to be distributed,” said the self-described “numbers guy” of the group. “There’s enough money to fund both. There’s plenty of revenue to fully fund every penny voters for Amendment 1 wanted and give 16 percent to housing.
Hendrickson is the executive director of the Association of Local Housing Authorities. He and others are alarmed by SB 586 and a remark Senate President Andy Gardiner said, “(housing) may end up having to come up short a little bit.”
To the self-described numbers guy, old-fashioned arithmetic says there should be no problem here.
“Not math but arithmetic; 33 percent and 16 percent is a lot less than 100. And, if you throw in transportation at 20 (percent) you are still less than 100. So, there is no reason why you cannot continue to give transportation and housing (current shares) and give 33 percent to the environment and there is still money left for general revenue,” concluded Hendrickson. Amendment 1 says the first 33 percent has got to go to the Amendment 1 program … but it doesn’t mean that you then work your percentages off what’s left.”