Two dozen Democratic state lawmakers signed a letter that called for Gov. Ron DeSantis to declare a state of emergency because of “an ongoing affordable housing crisis.” The letter, sent Thursday, Dec. 16, to DeSantis by Sen. Gary Farmer, D-Lighthouse Point, and Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando, pointed to issues such as lawmakers using affordable-housing money for other purposes — a process known as “sweeping” the money.
“In a state which has swept more than $2.3 billion from our affordable housing trust fund since 2001, this has led to an unsustainable situation for too many working Floridians,” the letter said. It also cited rising rent costs in heavily populated areas such as Central Florida, South Florida and the Tampa Bay region. “Once this state of emergency has been declared, they are asking that the governor direct Attorney General Ashley Moody to use her power to enact statutory price-gouging consumer protections for Floridians subjected to unconscionable rent increases of more than 10% of the average rate in the last 12 months,” a news release from Smith’s office said of the lawmakers’ request.
State Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, a Republican, took aim at the Democratic lawmakers in a Twitter post Thursday. “PSA: EVERYTHING costs more because of inflation. Specifically, Joe Biden’s inflation crisis. It’s crushing the poor and middle class. Maybe try a different letter to a different person?” Patronis tweeted.