Charlie Crist and his Republican cohorts just depressed the future value of your house.
They did this by gutting the state's growth-management law.
We tend to equate rampant paving with crowded schools, traffic jams and environmental destruction.
But this time around, the impact extends to home prices.
It is a simple matter of supply and demand. Prices are crashing because there is too much of the former and too little of the latter.
Florida has more than 300,000 empty houses, many abandoned eyesores that drag down neighborhoods.
Despite this huge glut, developers are asking the state Department of Community Affairs for permission to build more than 600,000 new homes and almost 500 million square feet of regional malls, office buildings and other commercial development.
Everybody is lining up for the next boom.
The new legislation only will increase these numbers as it opens up more rural land to development.
We are creating a market in which demand won't catch up to supply for years to come.
We are going back to the old economic model of making Florida cheaper by sprawling ever outward.
Ideally, we would limit new housing, thereby increasing the value of existing homes when growth resumes.
Flooding the market with a steady stream of new homes thwarts this healing process.
"We are telling the market that supply is going to be large," says David Denslow, a widely respected University of Florida economist. "Who is going to buy a house for $200,000 if he thinks that same house five years from now will sell for $150,000?"
Making matters worse, the new legislation reduces development costs.
It exempts many large developments from intensive review by state planners. It also exempts many developers from having to pay for road improvements required to handle the traffic they create. That eventually shifts the burden to taxpayers.
We will be subsidizing them so they can sell their homes more cheaply, undercutting the value of our homes.
I have never seen the politicians stick it to the populace quite like this.
It is why Crist signed the legislation in private, after normal business hours, then rushed off the next day to champion health care for kids in a massive diversion campaign.
The justification is that new development will boost the economy.
There will be no onslaught of construction jobs because there is no demand for more homes and more commercial space. Growth-management laws aren't crippling Florida's economy. There is an endless supply of lots out there, already approved for new homes. There are 7,000 empty lots in the rural burb of Groveland alone.
A lack of growth is what's crippling Florida's economy.
This legislation solves nothing. Nor was that the intent.
The intent was to allow landowners to lock in their right to pave, and to pave cheaply. It will jack up their land values. It will allow developers to throw up their sprawl whenever people do start trickling back into the state.
This is nothing more than a sweetheart deal for the people who write big campaign checks. And Charlie Crist has a big campaign coming up for U.S. Senate.
The law is so irresponsible that it was opposed not only by every environmental group but also by the Florida League of Cities, the Florida Association of Counties and the American Planning Association.
The only way to stop this madness, to protect this state and your home value, is the Florida Hometown Democracy amendment. Hopefully, it will be on the 2010 ballot.
Critics have called its restrictions on new growth extreme. But what the politicians are doing to this state is even more extreme.
"We haven't supported it," says Charles Pattison, president of 1,000 Friends of Florida. "But it is getting to the point where the Legislature isn't leaving anyone any alternatives." Mike Thomas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 407-420-5525.