Housing News Network, July 2007

Vol. 23, No. 2
 


From the Editor

The number one priority for housing advocates during the 2007 legislative session was to prevent the cap on state and local housing trust funds from going into effect. Unfortunately, we never came close. Speaker of the House, Marco Rubio, could not be engaged to discuss repeal, repeatedly deferring to the analysis of his staff budget director to explain that Florida could not afford to repeal the cap. The primary argument proffered was this: Florida needs the housing trust fund revenues for general revenue expenses. But the appropriation of housing dollars in 2007 was not $243million, but $393.4 million. And the $315.6 million balance of state and local housing trust fund monies was not used for general revenue expenses.

WHY WASN’T THE APPROPRIATION EQUAL TO THE CAP? AND WHY WASN’T THE TRUST FUND BALANCE SWEPT INTO GENERAL REVENUE?

Because at $243 million certain programs embraced by Florida legislators, such as CWHIP, could not be funded. If those popular programs could not be funded this year, it may have generated greater legislative concern over the cap. In other words, the cap could go into effect without having to feel its true impact: the dismantling of Florida’s system that generates housing trust fund monies in direct proportion to the increase in housing prices. Until all the unappropriated housing monies are expended and no housing programs can be funded above $243 million, lawmakers may not appreciate the true impact of the cap. The 2007 Legislature stayed its now four- year- course of leaving a substantial amount of housing trust monies in the trust funds, neither appropriated to housing nor swept to general revenue.

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