State Rep. Lindsay Cross (D-St. Petersburg) and Sen. Ana Maria Rodriquez (R-Doral) filed legislation Jan. 18 in both chambers of the Florida Legislature allowing municipalities to reduce ad valorem taxes on affordable housing units in certain projects.
House Bill 229 and Senate Bill 220 add another tool to the arsenal of cities and counties that have struggled to meet housing demands, according to a statement from Rep. Cross’s office. Officials said that few methods currently exist for local governments to shift existing housing supply into affordable units, but these bills will change that — creating incentives for operators of buildings with 50 or more units to reduce rents.
“Pinellas County is the most densely populated county in Florida. Every day, I hear from local residents who struggle to afford rent and find housing in a market with too much demand for too little supply,” said Cross. “This bill will open up the possibility for buildings in areas like Downtown St. Pete to become more affordable through a public-private partnership. While this bill only addresses one small piece of the housing puzzle, I am hopeful that it will complement other housing solutions brought forward this session.”
“I am proud to be sponsoring this legislation with Rep. Cross,” said Rodriguez. “During a time when housing costs are high, this bill will provide relief to working families through an ad valorem tax exemption for property used to provide affordable housing.”
Pinellas County Commissioner Charlie Justice applauded Cross for “looking at every opportunity to increase availability of attainable housing in Pinellas. The more tools in our toolbox can only positively impact that endeavor.”
Brandi Gabbard, chair of St. Petersburg City Council, thanked Cross on behalf of her city’s residents “for making affordable housing one of her top priorities as a new legislator. When this bill was filed last session by Senator Rodriguez, the city was in full support. We are pioneers in utilizing the tools that the legislature gives us to combat our housing crisis and we will do so with this important tool as well! Looking forward to seeing it pass and getting signed into law.”
St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch noted that the legislation prioritizing affordable housing is in alignment with one of the city’s pillars for progress: Housing Opportunities for All.
“We support efforts that allow cities like ours to mitigate the potential challenges that accompany the creation of affordable housing units,” he said. “We are grateful to Rep. Cross for identifying incentive measures that will make affordable housing a reality for property owners and residents alike. I’m proud to support this important bill and urge its consideration and passage.”