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.