By Peter Schorsch | Florida Politics
Your morning review of the issues and players behind Florida politics.
… “Here’s what Tampa Bay leaders are watching for during the 2020 Legislative Session” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — This year, local governments are eyeing funding projects for museums, hospitals and other amenities as well as legislation that supports building new infrastructure, preserving and honoring remains lost in abandoned cemeteries and preserving funding intended for affordable housing that has for years been pilfered by other projects. The city of Tampa’s top budget priorities this session includes protecting the Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund. For years lawmakers have been raiding the fund to pay for other state projects, leaving affordable housing initiatives lacking funding that should have gone to those projects. The city of St. Pete also lists preserving Sadowski as a top priority.
… “Is this the year Florida lawmakers stop diverting affordable housing money to other uses?” via the Tampa Bay Times editorial board — For 12 straight years, the Florida Legislature has taken at least half of the money set aside for affordable housing in the Sadowski trust fund and spent it in other areas. With skyrocketing rents across the state and income levels that don’t match up, that money is more needed more than ever for its intended use. Legislators should follow Gov. DeSantis’ recommendation this Session, spend the full amount on affordable housing and address the crisis the state has ignored for years. Spending the full amount on affordable housing would be significant. In 2019, Pinellas County received about $1.4 million from the trust funds. It should have received $11.7 million. It’s the same story in Hillsborough.