Kriseman: St. Petersburg Is ‘Under Siege’
By ANNE LINDBERG, TB Reporter
Mayor Rick Kriseman slammed budget proposals by the Trump administration to cut funding for low income housing and bills in the state Legislature that would limit the expenditure of funds in low-income communities.
ST. PETERSBURG – Saying the city is “under siege,” Mayor Rick Kriseman blasted state and federal funding proposals that, he said, would eliminate efforts to help low-income residents.
Kriseman urged residents to call their representatives to oppose the measures.
“Our city is under siege by bad proposed bills and budgets,” Kriseman said Thursday (April 13).
Kriseman singled out President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts to the Community Development Block Grant program and to Housing and Urban Development funding.
The city, he said, has received about $3 million in CDBG money that has allowed it to help homeowners make improvements to their residences. Kriseman was standing in front of one such home at 2645 14th Ave. S as he made his statement.
St. Petersburg council member Lisa Wheeler-Bowman joined Kriseman at the podium.
“These programs are vital to our community,” Wheeler-Bowman said. “The loss of these programs will be devastating.”
Kriseman also criticized a proposal before the Florida Legislature that would limit the ability of cities to use tax increment financing. A TIF allows a county or city to take some taxes raised in a community redevelopment area and place them in a special fund to be used for improvements in that area rather than being placed in the general budget. St. Petersburg has four CRAs, which are designed to help redevelop low-income areas.
The proposal to change the TIF rules is sponsored by Jake Raeburn, R-Valrico, in the state House of Representatives and Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, in the Senate.
The bills are a reaction to an issue of mismanagement in one Miami-Dade CRA. Kriseman said changing the entire system because of the misdeeds of one is wrong.
“The entire state gets penalized for the actions of one community,” the mayor said. “Enforce it against [that] one community.”
Kriseman urged residents to call their local representatives and senators to tell them to vote against House Bill 13 and Senate Bill 1770. He also urged residents to call Senate President Joe Negron, R-Palm City, to tell him to oppose the proposal.
“We need to hold them all accountable for their votes,” Kriseman said.
For information about the St. Petersburg CRAs, go to stpete.org.
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