Broward legislative delegation endorses tax for affordable housing

Affordable Housing
The same effort died in the 2021 Session, but the issue has gotten more urgent, legislators say.

Legislation that would allow a surtax on Broward County’s commercial property sales to go toward affordable housing received the unanimous endorsement of the county’s legislative delegation Tuesday.

If the Florida House approves, the County Commission could levy up to 45 cents on every $100 worth of commercial property sales. That could raise up to $31 million for affordable housing in the first, full year it was implemented, according to an analysis.

The situation has become more urgent in the last year as housing prices have continued to climb, Davie Rep. Michael Gottlieb pointed out.

A recent study shows Broward residents are spending 40% of their income on rent, Gottlieb said.

“We have an affordable housing problem in Broward County,” he said, acknowledging that “surtax” is considered a bad word. But Miami-Dade County has been levying the same tax for years.

“Guess what? … It hasn’t stopped development in any way, shape or form,” he said.

Hollywood Rep. Marie Woodson said she would support the bill “100%.”

“Our families in Broward County deserve better when it comes to affordable housing,” she said. “We are living through a time where our younger generation cannot even afford to rent an apartment.”

A Florida International University study of the Broward housing market found the median sales price of a single-family home is affordable to only about 12.6% of county households. And that study was done before the latest surge in housing prices. The study found the housing costs in the area make it one of the most unaffordable markets in the country.

Gottlieb sponsored the same surtax bill last year, but it failed to gain traction. He’ll soldier on, however, trying to convince his colleagues the time has come for increase.

“We’re paying a price for homelessness,” he said. “People are healthier, go to work and are happier when they have a place to live.”

He said it represents a chance for Broward County to take care of its own.

“It’s a societal obligation,” he said.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected]

One comment

  • Joe

    October 26, 2021 at 5:53 pm

    Who do these idiots think pays the tax? The commercial property owners? WRONG. The cost is passed to the consumer. At a time where were enduring record breaking inflation. This is pure crazy. These idiots are stuck on stupid and drunk on taxpayer money.

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