‘This is Peanuts’: Rebellion Brews Against DeSantis Over Housing Bill in Florida

By: Georgia | Published: Jun 30, 2024

Even with Florida’s property tax relief on the horizon, residents like Ken Shandelson find it insufficient given the “skyrocketing housing costs they’re facing.” 

Despite the promise of reduced property taxes, the reality of increasing living expenses paints a grim picture for Floridians.

A "Peanuts" Solution to a Growing Crisis

“Compared to our insurance and homeowners association wild increases,” the new bill’s impact feels like “peanuts,” says Ken Shandelson from Fort Myers. 

A quaint two-story house painted blue with white trim and a covered front porch surrounded by lush greenery

Source: Sean Foster/Unsplash

It’s a sentiment echoed by many who see the move as a drop in the ocean amidst Florida’s ongoing insurance crisis.


Insurance Woes Overwhelm the Sunshine State

Floridians are grappling with an insurance nightmare, as premiums hit an all-time high of $6,000 annually—the country’s peak.

A street view of a modern suburban neighborhood featuring newly built two-story homes with varying architectural designs and landscaped front yards

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The state’s escalating insurance costs overshadow the proposed tax breaks, leaving homeowners strapped.

Focus Shift Needed in Legislative Priorities

Ken Shandelson voices a critical view: “I would prefer the legislator focus on these two issues [insurance and HOA costs].” 

Aerial shot of a Miami neighborhood with a mix of residential houses and a golf course, showcasing lush greenery and water bodies

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His commentary to Newsweek underscores a broader dissatisfaction with the government’s current policy focus.

Expanding Homestead Exemption Offers Slight Relief

House Bill 7019 aims to bump the homestead exemption by $25,000, hoping to cushion homeowners against inflation. 

A miniature model of a house painted red and white next to a set of keys on a wooden surface

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However, this aid sidesteps renters and does little for those battling other escalating fees.

School Funding Concerns Ignite Tension

Bob Wells of Walton County points out potential pitfalls: decreased funding for schools and services due to the new bill. 

Front view of Melbourne High School in Florida, a modern building with a symmetrical facade and palm trees lining the entrance

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The selective application of tax relief sparks questions about the bill’s equity and long-term impact.


Rural Areas Brace for Financial Hit

Florida has earmarked funds to help mostly rural counties expected to suffer revenue losses from the new amendment. 

Aerial view of expansive green mangrove forests interspersed with winding waterways, leading out to the ocean

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This move indicates a scramble to mitigate widespread financial upheavals the bill might trigger.


Amendment 5 Faces Voter Scrutiny This November

As the bill transforms into Constitutional Amendment 5, it needs 60% voter approval to pass. 

A serene pond reflecting tall palm trees under a clear blue sky, showcasing a lush, tropical landscape

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It’s a high stake that puts the power in the hands of Florida’s voters, reflecting the contentious nature of this legislative change.


Critics Decry HB 7019 as Political Posturing

Donna M., a senior resident from Osceola County, dismisses the bill as merely a “vote-getting mechanism.” 

Luxurious multi-story condominiums on a waterfront promontory, surrounded by palm trees and overlooking a tranquil blue inlet

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Her candid words reflect a skepticism about the bill’s genuine intent and its real benefits to the community.


Fears of Local Government Disempowerment

“This is another way for the state to remove power from the counties and municipalities.” 

A view of a bustling downtown waterfront at sunset, with modern skyscrapers standing tall behind palm trees

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Donna M. continues, highlighting concerns that local governance might be weakened under the guise of tax relief.


A Personal Tale of Tax and Insurance Turmoil

David Thompson from Tampa shares his struggle with escalating costs since buying his home in 2021. 

A scene showing high-rise residential buildings amidst dense tropical greenery, with a view extending towards a distant water body

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“My homeowner’s insurance went way up, my property taxes went way up,” he recounts to Newsweek, illustrating the personal financial crises many Floridians are facing.


Gentrification and Taxation Without Improvement

Living in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, Thompson sees significant tax revenue increases but no corresponding investment in local infrastructure. 

A white Art Deco building with the sign 'DROP IT' flanked by tall palm trees on a sunny street in Florida

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“What bothers me most is the lack of improvements in areas which have now provided huge increases to the city’s property tax revenue,” he tells Newsweek.