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St. Petersburg may put business tax cuts to a vote amid rent regulation plea

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st. ST. PETERSBURG — In the view of protesters who spent the night in bugs and dampness across from City Hall, the St. Petersburg City Council will decide on Thursday who will be given a break.

Protesters want the council to ask another referendum question on rent control on ballots for the November general election by Pinellas County election officials on Aug. 16. They want voters to make decisions about rental controls that the city investigated earlier this year. Officials have decided not to pursue control of the rent for fear of lawsuits, loopholes and state backlash.

Childs Park neighborhood community activist Jabber Edmund, one of the protesters who slept outside, said, “I think it’s an interesting time because we have staff running a referendum calling for corporate tax cuts.” . “It’s like speaking French while calling for an emergency.”

Related: St. Petersburg housing protesters go ‘sleep-in’, demand vote on rent control

The City Council will vote on whether to put the four amendments to the ballot. Reinstatement of the slightly unsuccessful business tax cuts last year, permission to expand the Dalí Museum, moving local elections to even-numbered years to coincide with state and national elections, and land readjustments.

Related: St. Petersburg may vote on Dali, Biz tax cuts, election cycle in November

Council member Deborah Figgs-Sanders spoke to Youth about “creative options to initiate rental stabilization opportunities to effectively reduce the likelihood of families being threatened by homelessness.”・I would like to discuss this with the Family Service Committee.

The committee, which includes Figgs-Sanders, Richie Floyd, Lisa Wheeler-Bowman, and Copley Gardes, said that rents would be higher than when Floyd pushed for rent regulation at the Housing, Land Use, and Transportation Commission in February. May be more regulation friendly. The committee, along with City Council Speakers Gina Driscoll, Brandi Gabbard and Ed Montanari, voted 3 to 1 against advancing a “statement of belief” across the city council that there is a housing emergency. I was.

“As a city, we want to be progressive and proactive, while also being able to deliver something sustainable and achievable in less time,” Figgs-Sanders said before Thursday’s council meeting.

St. Petersburg introduced discussions on rent regulation among city governments in the Tampa Bay area. But last week, it was the Tampa City Council that pushed ahead with a plan to let residents decide whether to declare a housing emergency.

This is how rent management works. The city council would have to declare a housing emergency, a definition the city attorney said is open to interpretation. their analysis is The housing emergency was used in the context of warfare, particularly World War II, and rent regulations were enacted in some places to support the war effort.

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Related: Could St. Petersburg really stop raising rents for a year?

Possibly in the November election, voters will be given a referendum. If approved, it expires in one year and can only be renewed by another referendum. Also, second homes, seasonal or tourist units, and residential “luxury condominiums,” defined as buildings where the average rent in 1977 was $250 per month.

In today’s world, that could mean $1,150 in rent. The city may argue that adjustments need to be made to further account for inflation. The law outlining rent control also stipulates that the burden of proof rests with the city rather than with the plaintiff in a lawsuit, which is unusual.

This is a developing story. Please check the latest information.