Housing affordability drives individual economic security and mobility and creates the foundation for a robust and vibrant economy. Investing in affordable housing development has ripple effects throughout the economy, creating good-paying jobs, increasing the financial well-being of households and generating revenue for the state. The Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund is the state’s only vehicle for making long-term investments in affordable housing development. However, over the past 15 years, funding slated for the trust fund has instead been diverted toward other purposes, forgoing tens of thousands of much-needed affordable housing units.
On November 6, Florida voters will decide on Amendment 5, which would make generating resources to meet the needs of Florida’s families, communities and economy much harder. The measure would require a two-thirds (supermajority) vote of the state Legislature to approve any new state revenues, taxes and fees, or to eliminate tax incentives, loopholes and other such expenditures.
Florida currently has the wrong priorities, giving special tax breaks to big corporations while cutting funds for affordable housing development. Amendment 5 locks in these failed priorities before the state has a chance to recover from deep cuts following the Great Recession and a supermajority requirement would likely require huge funding cuts in the wake of another fiscal crisis. Amendment 5 would unnecessarily restrict investments in Florida’s future.
Over the past few decades, Florida’s shortage of affordable housing has increased, resulting in the highest share of cost-burdened renters of any state (54.1 percent).While job growth has increased in Florida since the Great Recession, many households have yet to benefit from any of the resulting economic gains. Household incomes in 2015 were $5,630 less than they were in 2007 (adjusted to 2016 dollars). In 2016, 1 in 5 Floridians were paid at or below $10 per hour, the highest share of low-wage workers in 11 years. Between 2005 and 2016, 44.5 percent of all new employment — almost half of all jobs created — paid low wages.