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Lawmakers OK Trust Funds Cut, Now On to Budget Reconciliation

The Legislature permanently cut affordable housing trust funds 50%, up from the 66% initially proposed. Florida Realtors will advocate for more during budget reconciliation.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida House approved a bill (SB 2512) that the Senate previously passed – a proposal that will allocate about 50% of the money in the state’s affordable housing trust funds to affordable housing. The Legislature’s initial plan was to permanently cut affordable housing dollars by 66%, but following advocacy efforts by Florida Realtors® the number was reduced to 50%.

It’s also not the final word. The House and Senate budgets must now be reconciled, and changes could still occur. During reconciliation, a select group of lawmakers from both the House and Senate looks at each chamber’s budget proposal and negotiates a final budget that must be approved by the entire Legislature and signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis. During this reconciliation period, Florida Realtors will continue to advocate for more than 50% of the money in the housing trust funds to be used for workforce housing.

“The good news is the power of the Realtor® voice is stronger than ever,” says Florida Realtors President Cheryl Lambert. “As soon as we found out about the proposed 66% cut to affordable housing dollars, we ramped up our advocacy efforts, which eventually led to a Call for Action that asked all members to contact their personal representatives. Lawmakers said they increased the share dedicated to workforce housing from 33% to 50% after they received feedback from housing advocates.”

Still, Lambert says the association has always advocated for all money in the affordable housing trust funds to be used for affordable housing, and that belief has not changed.

“Hundreds of thousands of Floridians – many of them teachers, firefighters, first responders and other essential workers – have used these funds to help purchase a home,” she said when the Florida Legislature first proposed the change. She also said it was a “priority for the elderly on fixed incomes.”

© 2021 Florida Realtors®