Gov.’s Budget Recommendations Fund Realtor-backed Projects
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Fla. Gov. Ron DeSantis released budget recommendations for the Florida Legislature to consider for the 2020-2021 state budget, including several Realtor priorities.
“Each year, Florida’s governor releases budget recommendations in advance of the legislative session, which runs for 60 days and begins on Jan. 14, 2020,” says Danielle Scoggins, Florida Realtors vice president of public policy. “We are excited that Governor DeSantis has again recommended full funding of the housing trust funds – including $267.2 million for the State Housing Initiative Partnership (SHIP) Program which directly benefits Floridians achieve the dream of homeownership.”
Real estate highlights from the Governor’s 2020-2021 budget
- Environment and water issues: $625 million for environmental spending includes $322 million for Everglades restoration projects, $22 million to combat the harmful effects of algal blooms and red tide, $150 million for various water quality improvements, $50 million for beach nourishment and $50 million for springs restoration.
- Housing trust funds: Full funding of the State and Local Government Housing Trust Funds, commonly referred to as the Sadowski Trust Funds, which would dedicate $387 million for affordable housing projects. The total includes $119.8 million for the State Apartment Incentive Loan (SAIL) Program and $267.2 million for the State Housing Initiative Partnership (SHIP) Program.
- Unlicensed activity: $500,000 to fund unlicensed activity enforcement relating to real estate.
- Mapping: Authorization for the Division of Emergency Management to continue LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) mapping the state.
In addition to a direct impact on the state’s real estate business, Governor DeSantis included budget recommendations for hurricane recovery and economic development.
Other budget items
Hurricane recovery: For the two most recent hurricanes to strike Florida, Irma and Michael, Florida is projected to spend over $1.9 billion on hurricane-related expenses – $627.8 million for Hurricane Irma and $1.3 billion so far for Hurricane Michael. The budget includes $25 million for the repair and replacement of critical infrastructure and to improve the capacity of emergency services.
Transportation and economic development: The budget provides $8.8 billion for the State Transportation Work Program, including $2.8 billion for highway construction, $865.7 million in lane resurfacing and $436.2 million in scheduled repairs and replacement of bridges.
Savings and taxes: The budget recommends $480.5 million in savings, such as administrative efficiencies. It places $5.6 billion in total reserves, including $1.4 billion of general revenue. It also includes more than $300 million in tax relief, including a $56 million Back to School Sales Tax Holiday, a Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday and property tax relief of over $247 million.
Education: The budget increases investments in the state’s education system, including $22.9 billion for the Florida Education Finance Program (FEDP), over $900 million to recruit and retain top classroom teachers and principals, and over $600 million to raise the minimum salary for full-time classroom teachers to $47,500 and $300 million for the Florida Classroom Teacher and Principal Bonus programs. It also includes funding for workforce development initiatives, as well as colleges and universities.
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