Housing affordability dominates policy discussions at Florida TaxWatch meeting
Republican Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez is weighing several options for runs at Miami-Dade constitutional offices. Image via Florida TaxWatch.

Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez said regulations and NIMBYism contribute to workforce housing shortages.

The challenge of affordable housing and the lack of obvious solutions hung over several panel discussions at Florida TaxWatch’s annual meeting.

In the wake of a hurricane and in the face of an insurance crisis, one thing most agreed on is that the problem is an urgent one.

Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez, a Miami-Dade Republican, expects multiple issues surrounding the cost of living to loom during a Special Session on insurance and in the coming Regular Session.

“This Session is not just going to be an insurance crisis and figuring out ways to mitigate the skyrocketing costs and these increases,” she said.

Following Hurricane Ian, Rodriguez expects legislation to eliminate property taxes for homes destroyed by the storm. Of course, that’s just one small piece of the challenges around the supply of housing for working-class Floridians.

She took part in a panel at the Florida TaxWatch meeting alongside Centerline Capital Partners founder Craig Perry, a developer with projects in Florida and a number of other states. He said the crisis of costs was part of a national supply-and-demand problem.

He pointed to a number of local, state and federal regulations that create problems for builders, from a lack of timeline on zoning applications to land development regulations that, in fact, reduce the practical building level allowed by zoning alone.

But both he and Rodrigues said one of the biggest problems is “NIMBYism,” a widely felt anxiety that affordable housing could reduce the value of homes in the immediate vicinity.

“You’re trying to make things as affordable as possible, but nobody wants it in your backyard — until it’s their own kid,” Perry said.

The matter now hangs over other industries as well. Larry Antonucci, CEO of Lee Health, said he has lost out on hires of skilled workers because of the housing crisis.

“We’ve got to be able to have places for our staff to live,” he said. “We have lost staff that we’ve tried to recruit because of housing. The applicants have tried to find a place to live and they simply can’t.”

Broward Health CEO Shane Strum and Lee Health CEO Larry Antonacci discuss health care challenges at Florida TaxWatch. Image via Florida TaxWatch.

The issue has more people in the health care field considering whether they need to become housing developers themselves.

“A lot of the health care systems are actually thinking of that as part of the retention recruitment,” said Shane Strum, CEO of Broward Health. “On some of the available land nearby, do you start to build some type of housing?”

Notably, Senate President Kathleen Passidomo in a video message to TaxWatch members made clear that housing stock will be a priority during her time leading the upper chamber.

“The policies on the federal level have sent the cost of basic goods through the roof. That means that some Floridians are forced to choose between spending the last $20 of their paycheck on food for their families or gas for their tanks,” she said. “In addition, the cost of housing is out of reach for many. If we don’t expand our workforce housing options, we will not be able to fill the jobs that power our economy.”

Across the board, panelists pointed to a number of elements driving costs up, from supply chain disruptions to high demand in Florida. The question in the coming months will be what policy gains momentum as a solution with buy-in, and then whether it will work.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Elliott Offen

    December 1, 2022 at 6:31 pm

    Too late for that! DeSanctimonious invited everyone in New York and New Jersey to come here and buy 10 houses and drive up prices so long as they vote Nazi Lowrider. Also rent controls are illegal thanks to GOP shills for rich grifters…”freedom” to exploit. Nothing can be done. Useless meeting. Minimum wage will have to increase to $20 an hour to put a dent in the problem..and that won’t happen until 2040.

    • Tom

      December 2, 2022 at 8:40 am

      Mentally handicapped, descendant of Guevara, Castro and Chavez. Pure socialist.

      Florida to collect millions in revenues on creating housing.

      State to authorize local zoning, and regs to be reduced. Rising tide for all.
      Offen and his socialist agenda fails.

  • Richard Bruce

    December 1, 2022 at 10:10 pm

    The market determines affordability, not Gov’t. Proposed “affordability” polices will create slums that will destroy whole neighborhoods. No one has a right to live where they want without paying for it. Why should strangers be forced to pay for someone else’s house?

  • Enrique

    December 2, 2022 at 1:33 pm

    Amazing how the great conservatives couldn’t find the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

Comments are closed.


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