Florida bills to protect affordable housing fund dead in session

$185M will be diverted elsewhere

(Credit: FreeStockPhotos.biz, Wikimedia Commons)
(Credit: FreeStockPhotos.biz, Wikimedia Commons)

Two Florida bills aiming to protect affordable housing funds from being diverted elsewhere died in a subcommittee during the Florida Legislature session.

It’s the 11th consecutive year that funds from the William E. Sadowski Affordable Housing Act will be used to fill gaps in other budgets. Florida bills SB 874, sponsored by Naples Republican Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, and HB 191, sponsored by Tampa Democrat Sean Shaw, would have prevented the money from being used for other priorities, according to the Miami Herald. They died in the state’s transportation and tourism appropriations subcommittee before the Florida Legislature ended its 2018 session on March 11.

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The affordable housing act, which collects funds for housing for the elderly and disabled, is expected to generate between $308 million and $322 million this year. The money is collected from a 20-cent surcharge for every $100 paid on real estate transactions.

More than $180 million will be swept for other priorities and about $109 million will be left for affordable housing, Florida Watchdog reported.

Gov. Rick Scott signed the $88.7 billion budget on Friday. It also sets aside $100 million for Florida Forever, the state’s environmental land acquisition fund. [Watchdog] – Amanda Rabines