Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Affordable Florida for All - Charlie Crist for Governor

ISSUE

Affordable Florida for All

Across the Sunshine State, it has never cost more to be a Floridian. Housing prices continue to soar, making the dream of buying a home impossible for many families, while renters are getting slammed with record rents and sky-high increases. Premiums for property insurance and car insurance are reaching all-time highs alongside electric bills, with the Florida Public Service Commission in the pocket of big utilities and acting more like a lapdog than a watchdog. Meanwhile, both wages and the rate of wage growth in Florida are well below the national average.

Governor Ron DeSantis hasn’t just ignored these issues — he’s made them worse. Florida has become unaffordable under this governor. He signed into law legislation that permanently cut the Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund in half, and he made it harder and more expensive for homeowners to get property insurance. All while this governor takes giant campaign contributions from electric utilities, then watches quietly as the PSC rubber stamps their outrageous rate hikes. At every turn, Governor DeSantis sides with corporations over consumers, puts profits over people, and donors over Floridians. The result: an unaffordable Florida.

Charlie Crist has a proven record of putting people first. As Governor, Charlie tackled the 2008 recession head first, pulling our state out of the financial crisis while fighting the insurance and utility giants. He demanded lower rates, and he appointed consumer-oriented regulators. In Congress, he has fought for housing affordability, access to capital for small businesses, a $15 minimum wage, the child care tax credit and stimulus checks to help people weather the covid pandemic. He’s spent his lifetime in public service taking on powerful special interests for the people. And when he’s elected, he’ll do it again.

Charlie’s Affordable Florida Plan is a promise to all Floridians that as governor Charlie will:

  • Work to make housing more affordable for renters and homebuyers
  • Stop outrageous electric rate increases and reform utility regulation
  • Expand fast broadband internet so it is accessible to all
  • Lower homeowner insurance rates
  • Fight to secure better, lower cost car insurance

POLICY PROPOSALS

Part 1: UTILITIES

■ As governor, Charlie Crist will put the word “public’’ back into the Florida Public Service Commission and the Office of Public Counsel, which represents ratepayers, by appointing watchdogs instead of lapdogs.

  • He will steadfastly oppose unreasonable rate increases by the for-profit utility companies and call on the Public Service Commission to set ambitious energy conservation goals.
  • Charlie supports changing state law so that the governor appoints the public counsel instead of the Legislature, and he promises to appoint an independent, experienced public counsel and supports additional resources to the office.
  • Charlie will also seek the repeal of legislation signed into law by Gov. DeSantis that imposes term limits on the counsel, which undercuts the office’s authority, so it can fight harder for consumers.

■ Charlie will call for eliminating the nominating process that is controlled by the utilities so that the governor can appoint Public Service Commission member directly without being forced to choose from a one-sided list of finalists. Charlie will give voters a voice at the commission by giving voters the power to decide whether PSC members should be retained or removed every four years.

■ Charlie will seek the repeal of legislation signed into law by Gov. DeSantis that prevents local governments from banning natural gas as an energy source in new construction and restricts the use of natural gas obtained by fracking. Charlie also supports the repeal of legislation signed by the current governor that prevents local governments from imposing requirements on gas stations.

■ Charlie will add more electric vehicle charging stations throughout Florida to emphasize convenience for drivers, not profits for utilities.

■ Charlie will expand solar energy, preserve net metering, and oppose Tallahassee politicians’ efforts to make solar more expensive.

Part 2: Housing Affordability

■ As governor, Charlie Crist will fully fund the Sadowski Trust Fund for affordable housing and work to repeal the law that permanently cut it in half. Once restored, he will line-item veto any raids on the Trust Fund. Sadowski belongs to the people of Florida for affordable housing, not politicians in Tallahassee.

■ For the veteran, young family, or first-generation homebuyer looking to own their own home, Charlie will strengthen and expand down payment assistance programs to help more Floridians achieve the American Dream of home ownership.

■ Charlie will appoint a Housing Czar who will report directly to the governor and be empowered to support the work of local governments to innovate and meet broad housing affordability goals, while respecting the unique local differences in communities throughout our state.

■ As governor, Charlie will restore housing funding that politicians took from the people of Florida and spent elsewhere, investing in homeownership, affordable rental units, climate resiliency, and energy efficiency.

■ Charlie will work to reform Florida’s documentary stamp tax to work better for Floridians who live in, or rent their homes. Charlie will fight for a healthy, sustainable real estate market for Florida families — not overseas billionaires.

■ Charlie will crack down on Wall Street abuse that is hurting Floridians and driving housing prices to unaffordable levels.

Part 3: Property Insurance

Pass National Catastrophic Insurance Plan. In Congress, Charlie introduced the FAITH Act to limit the amount of catastrophic reinsurance insurance companies have to buy. One of the biggest drivers of cost for Floridians is reinsurance, or insurance for insurance companies. The reinsurance market is global, unregulated, and increasingly disinterested in helping Floridians. With a federal backstop for catastrophic reinsurance to cover the true, once-in-a-lifetime catastrophes, hardworking Floridians would no longer be at the whims of the global reinsurance market.

End the “Hurricane Tax” Surcharge Policyholders Pay to Overfund the CAT Fund. Charlie will work to end the surcharge policyholders pay to pre-fund the catastrophe fund, which was always meant to be temporary. For the future, the rapid cash buildup should only be used to replenish the fund. It should not be a hurricane tax.

Lower the CAT Fund Attachment Point. As governor, Charlie will work to lower the CAT fund attachment point from $8.2 billion to $4.5 billion, further reducing the cost of private reinsurance. The CAT Fund was set up to stabilize the market and lower rates. It should have the flexibility to replace the highest cost reinsurance.

Appoint an Insurance Commissioner For The People. As governor, Charlie will appoint an insurance commissioner who supports Floridians over Big Insurance and will hold the line on rate increases. 

Require Big Insurers Profiting Off Auto Insurance to Provide Homeowners Insurance. Charlie will require large insurers that sell auto insurance to Floridians to also offer homeowners insurance, allowing Floridians to “bundle and save.” This provision is already in state law, but the DeSantis Administration refuses to enforce it.

Re-Establish My Safe Florida Homes. Charlie will also help Floridians better protect their homes from hurricanes and lower their insurance premiums by re-establishing his “My Safe Florida Homes” program. When he was governor, the state provided 400,000 free wind inspections and helped 35,000 homeowners pay for hardening homes, which reduced their premiums. The legislature allocated funds for this, but DeSantis has not acted to operationalize the program.

Fight Fraud. Charlie will fight fraud by creating an insurance fraud task force to protect hard-working Floridians and stop the fraudsters who drive up rates. Insurance fraud is real and illegal. Instead of dealing with fraud that we all have to pay for, DeSantis and Attorney General Moody have been too busy in court trying to rip away Floridians’ right to have an abortion. DeSantis made a big spectacle of arresting 20 ex-felons who were told by the state that they could vote. He knows how to use law enforcement to send a chilling message. Why not do it to the fraudsters?

Read more about Charlie’s plan to fix property insurance here.

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