Should doc stamp money collected for housing be spent only on housing? Florida Realtors members think so, and the association throws its full support behind a drive to amend Florida’s constitution. But that petition drive needs almost 1M signatures – including yours.
ORLANDO, Fla. – The concept is simple: “Housing funds for housing.”
But the effort is complicated, and Realtors® throughout Florida now have a chance to codify housing support into Florida’s constitution. However, the effort requires work from every Realtor in the state, and that starts with signing a petition.
In theory, the 1992 Sadowski Act created an affordable housing-support system where a portion of documentary stamp money – charged on Florida property sales – goes directly to affordable housing efforts.
In practice, it’s a different story. Over the years, the Florida Legislature has “swept” $2.3 billion out of the affordable housing money and moved it into general revenue, essentially using the money to pay for other state expenses.
Year after year, Florida Realtors® has advocated for affordable housing, asking the Legislature not to use the doc stamp money for other purposes. But during the 2021 session, lawmakers brought the issue to a breaking point when they created a new law to permanently reduce the funds by 50%.
Realtors in Florida decided to take action by creating a constitutional amendment that would codify “housing funds for housing” into the Florida Constitution. If approved by 60% of voters during the 2022 election, Florida’s housing market could then have an ongoing and reliable source of income to help first-time homebuyers, such as nurses, firefighters and teachers.
The challenge of a constitutional amendment
The first step was completed with the formation of “Floridians for Housing,” a Florida Realtors-funded Political Action Committee (PAC) overseeing the effort to advertise the project, collect petition signatures and create a path to the 2022 ballot. The drive officially began on Monday, June 28, 2021, and a copy of the full proposal is posted on the Florida Division of Elections’ website.
The second step: The Florida Supreme Court must consider and approve the proposed amendment language. But to get there, the drive first needs to collect 225,000 signatures from registered voters.
The third step: Once the court approves the amendment language, Floridians for Housing must collect more than 1 million signatures from registered voters. To reach that level, the state’s brokers and agents must not only sign and return a petition, but they must also advocate for their industry and collect additional signatures from family, friends and customers.
Gathering, signing and sending petitions
Petitions can be downloaded at the Floridians for Housing website or directly here: https://floridarealtors.org/petition
Petitions must be physically signed and filled out to qualify. Once printed and signed, they must be stamped and snail-mailed. While the petition lists Florida Realtors’ Orlando address as the sponsor, send all completed petitions to:
Floridians For Housing
3515 NW 98th Street, Ste. 200
Gainesville, FL 32606
Over the years, “billions of dollars from the trust funds have been siphoned away to be used for purposes other than housing,” says Florida Realtors President Cheryl Lambert. “Getting a constitutional amendment on the ballot and passed by voters is a heavy lift that will take considerable resources, time and the involvement of our entire membership – but we have the resources and we have the passion.”
For Realtors in Florida, it’s time for action. Sign and share the petition today.
© 2021 Florida Realtors®
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