Richard Corcoran – Original Credit: handout – Original Source: handout (/ Courtesy photo)
Newspapers around the state have recently highlighted something Tallahassee lawmakers don’t want you to know about — their continual raid on the state’s affordable-housing fund.
(“Will there be another raid on affordable housing funds? House says yes” and “Don’t starve affordable housing, conservation and higher education in the budget.”)
See, there is supposed to be money set aside for affordable housing in Florida where it’s a chronic problem thanks to a toxic combination of low wages and increasing rental rates.
That’s why everyone who purchases real estate in Florida pays a tax on the transaction that goes into an affordable-housing fund.
But legislators have continually raided that fund — stealing as much as half of the $300 million set aside last year — to pay for other things.
And they are talking about doing so again this year.
Why? Well House Speaker Richard Corcoran told the Miami Herald it’s about making tough choices during a “tight budget year.”
I’m sorry. A what budget year?
You guys have proposed record-high spending over and over. This year, the Gov. Rick Scott and legislators have proposed another spending record — $87 million — a significant leap from just eight years ago, when Scott described the $70 billion budget he inherited as “bloated.”
What’s more, legislators have raided this fund for the last eight years in a row — the entirety of the economic recovery, when the politicians themselves have described the state’s economy as booming.
This isn’t about lean times. It’s about priorities. And right now, the leadership apparently doesn’t view spending taxes on housing — in the express manner for which these taxes were levied — as a priority.