Florida lawmakers coalesce around high housing costs

by | Nov 23, 2022

  • Florida lawmakers across both parties appear poised to tackle the state’s housing affordability crisis in the next legislative session 
  • Incoming Senate President Kathleen Passidomo spoke extensively on Tuesday regarding her intention to introduce legislation to alleviate the burden of the high costs of housing 
  • State Democrats applauded the speech, pointing to efforts given in the past several years to bring the issue to the forefront of Florida political rhetoric 
  • Florida’s housing market has exploded into one of the nation’s costliest in recent years 

Florida lawmakers convened on Tuesday to be sworn in, where key figures including incoming Senate President Kathleen Passidomo spoke on impending issues. Between Republican and Democrat speakers, several topics were discussed, but both parties appeared to hone in on the state’s affordable housing crisis.

Florida’s housing market has burgeoned into one of the nation’s costliest, with urban centers like Miami and Ft. Lauderdale outpacing megacities like Atlanta and Dallas in recent years, largely due to inflation.

Consequentially, state Democrats have urged Gov. Ron DeSantis and similarly high-ranking officials to introduce measures that would help control rising costs.

Democrat gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist laid out a proposal to address Florida’s housing crisis that focuses on curtailing the influence of conglomerate real estate investment firms as part of his campaign agenda, while state Representatives sought to discuss the issue during a recent special session.

Republicans, however, seem to be heeding the concerns of their constituents, with recognition of high costs in Florida’s biggest housing markets.

“While Florida’s economy is booming, the pain of inflation is very real for Florida families. We see it at the grocery store. We see it at the gas pump. And we certainly see it in the housing market,” said Passidomo.

Passidomo referred to the pricing surge as the single most pressing issue facing Florida, stating that it has “exponentially grown over the past several years.”

“If our workers do not have a safe and affordable place to live and raise their families, we will not be able to recruit and retain the workforce we need in the Sunshine State. Last year, we dedicated record funding to affordable housing, with an emphasis on home ownership. It is clear we need to do more,” continued Passidomo.

In May, the state legislature established the Hometown Heroes housing program, which allows Floridians that serve as police officers, firefighters, military officers, and a series of additional professions to secure buyer-friendly loans to buy property within the state.

While earnestly discussed, Passidomo has yet to detail new proposals to be introduced during the next Legislative Session.

Passidomo’s remarks earned praise from Florida’s few remaining Democrat lawmakers. The party has worked to bring the issue to the forefront of Florida Politics, including an effort that included 24 state lawmakers signing a letter to the governor seeking the declaration of a state of emergency over the unaffordability of houses and rentals.

“The Senate President’s remarks today affirm what Democrats in Florida have been advocating for years. From demanding a fully funded affordable housing trust fund to calling for a housing state of emergency, we have been fighting every step of the way to address Florida’s unique and acute housing crisis,” said Rep. Angie Nixon.

“Real solutions were needed yesterday and folks can count on us to demand that legislative leaders consider all Floridians, no matter their zip code, their background, or where they’re from, in crafting new laws. Housing is one of the most important issues and we must get this right.”

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