For almost 20 years, Florida has had the country’s largest dedicated state revenue source for affordable housing. The Sadowski Act raised the state documentary stamp tax paid on all real property transactions, and dedicated the revenue to the state and local housing trust funds. Since 1992, the Florida Housing Coalition and members of the Sadowski Coalition have advocated for affordable housing trust funds and educated the public about their importance.
In an effort to gain more flexibility for the FY12 budget, Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) proposed redirecting $8.5 billion from the state’s 124 trust funds into the general revenue stream, including $123 million in dedicated tax revenue for state and local housing trust funds.
On April 5, SB 2154, a bill supporting the Governor’s proposal was introduced in the state Senate. While there is no companion bill in the Florida House, that body made its own attempt to divert the Sadowski trust fund monies into a “super trust fund” called State Enhancement Economic Development (SEED). This proposal would provide money for the Governor to use as part of incentive packages to encourage companies to locate in Florida.
Leading up to the April 13 Housing Day and Rally, the Florida Housing Coalition has spearheaded the Sadowski Education Effort (SEE). The SEE campaign is a public education initiative that includes a media campaign, grassroots outreach, and legislative strategy. The Florida Housing Coalition has a portion of its website dedicated to the SEE where advocates can access templates for local government resolutions, talking points and other tools necessary to effectively advocate in support of state and local housing trust funds. The Sadowski Education Effort has earned media coverage in every major newspaper in the state with editorials unanimously in support of the trust funds.
“Every constituency in the state favors the preservation of the state and local housing trust funds,” said Jaimie Ross, president, Florida Housing Coalition. “Florida is facing double digit unemployment and a foreclosure crisis. Using the money available in the state and local housing trust fund monies for housing this year would create nearly 15,000 jobs and over $1.4 billion in economic activity.”
For more information, contact Jaimie Ross, President of the Florida Housing Coalition, at firstname.lastname@example.org.