Then in 1992, Florida enacted a small tax on real estate transactions and earmarked it for the State Housing Trust Fund. It generated hundreds of millions of dollars for affordable housing in its first decade, according to a 2021 state Senate staff analysis.
But as the dot-com bubble burst and hit Florida in the early 2000s, elected leaders started taking from the trust fund to fill other budget holes. It became a trend that spanned Republican administrations. During the two decades ending in 2021, the state collected $5 billion for the housing fund but legislators diverted $2.3 billion for other needs.
Jaimie Ross, president of the Florida Housing Coalition, told CNN that when trust fund dollars are eliminated, the effect is multiplied, because those dollars would have been used by local governments to leverage private sector investment to build new housing.
“The money wasn’t being used for affordable housing,” Ross said. “It’s impossible to know what it was used for.”
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