Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Representative Steinberg Calls on Governor to Veto Condo Trust Fund Sweep

From the House Dems:

Dear Governor Crist:

I write to urge you to veto the sweep of more than $7 million from the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes Trust Fund to the General Revenue Fund.

The Condominium Trust Fund is funded by a $4 per unit annual fee on every condominium and cooperative unit in the state. These funds provide vital regulation, mediation, and education services for the residents of more than 20,000 condominium and cooperative associations throughout Florida.

Further, there is bipartisan support to use these funds to provide incentives to condominium owners to harden their coastal condominiums to better withstand hurricanes. For instance, House Bill 359 and Senate Bill 1344 would have authorized condominium owners to apply for My Safe Florida Home program grants to retrofit their properties for storm preparedness.

During these difficult economic times, Floridians must be able to protect their financial investment and get the information they need about the financial issues facing condominium associations. Condominium and cooperative should not be asked to shoulder a disproportionate and unfair share of the tax burden to balance Florida’s budget.

Diverting funds from the Condominium Trust Fund will hurt more than 1.3 million condominium and cooperative owners who deserve protection, not a disproportionate tax burden. Therefore, I urge you to veto this unconscionable sweep.

Additionally, because budget proviso language demands that the Florida Education Finance Program be tapped to exercise this veto, I also recommend that you ask the Legislature to identify another source of funding for the FEFP.

Richard L. Steinberg
State Representative
District 106

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