Affordable housing is a major topic of discussion every Legislative Session, though much of the time the conversation is centered on sweeps and raids of Sadowski trust fund money.
With natural disasters and increasing home prices compounding the lack of affordable housing in the state, the conversation heading into the 2020 Legislative Session has been on making sure those trust fund dollars are used for their intended purpose.
Gov. Ron DeSantis recommended as much in his 2020-21 “Bolder, Brighter, Better Future Budget,” released in November, which recognized that “while Florida’s economy remains strong, finding affordable housing can still be a challenge.”
As in his first budget, DeSantis called on lawmakers to fully fund workforce and affordable housing programs. That amounts to $387 million in the 2020-21 spending plan.
But there are strategies lawmakers are considering to alleviate housing prices. A bill filed by Clearwater Republican Sen. Ed Hopper (SB 818) would make several changes to the cost of owning a mobile or manufactured home.
At the top of the list is a sales tax exemption for the domiciles. Under current law, the entire purchase price of a mobile home is subject to sales tax, which can add up quick for such a large purchase.
Hooper’s bill would make it so buyers only have to pay sales tax on half of the purchase price of a mobile home. And, if the mobile home is intended to be permanently affixed to a lot, then the exemption would cover the full purchase price.
The bill also shakes up Florida Mobile Home Act to allow mobile home parks more agility to adapt to changing business conditions, protect their community residents, and provide transparency to future residents and homebuyers.
The bill is scheduled to be heard when the Senate Innovation, Industry and Technology Committee meets on Jan. 13.