Thursday, November 10, 2011

Coalition to fight for affordable home funds

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Coalition to fight for affordable home funds
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Nov. 10, 2011 – Florida Realtors is one of 24 groups that want doc stamp money used solely for affordable housing – not added to the state’s general fund. The Sadowski Coalition debuted its advocacy website this week:

The Sadowski Trust Fund was created in 1991. It included a new doc stamp tax with the funds earmarked for affordable housing in Florida. The new doc stamp tax became effective in 1992, with 70 percent of the funds directed to help resolve local housing problems in each of the state’s 67 counties. The remaining 30 percent went to Florida Housing Finance Corporation programs, such as SHIP.

According to the Sadowski Coalition, fully funding the Sadowski Trust Fund would do more than help low-income Floridians – it would also kick-start the state’s real estate rebound.

“Our priority this year is funding,” says Sadowski coalition facilitator Jaime Ross. “We hope this online resource will aid our membership organizations, supporters of affordable housing throughout the state and elected officials to understand that using housing trust fund dollars for housing creates approximately 9,000 jobs, $900 million in economic benefit and lessens future state budget deficits.”

About 82 percent of doc stamp money collected over the past three years – $706.2 million – was rolled into Florida’s general budget. With tax revenue still historically low in the state, lawmakers will be pressured to do the same in the 2012 session of the legislature.

The Coalition says misperception is a key problem. With housing values down across Florida, many legislators think affordable housing stock is less of a problem – that many families can now afford a home without help. However, unemployment is over 10 percent, and families with incomes at $30,000 or lower still need help.

© 2011 Florida Realtors®

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