Over six months after it was announced that approximately $300 million in federal funds would be sent to Florida, there is still a debate being waged on how the government will spend the money. The money is Florida's share of the $25 billion settlement that was reached regarding foreclosure procedures nationally. It has been reported that the Florida attorney general and the State legislature have been engaged in a debate on whether or not the money will actually be spent on helping homeowners who are facing foreclosure. Many states have already decided how to disperse the funds, leaving Florida as one of the few states that has yet to determine how the money will be used
A Florida official has stated that the attorney general only has two options in determining how to spend the money. However, it has been reported that both options available require that lawmakers give their approval. There is a possibility that this approval will not occur until the spring of 2013.
Meanwhile, the attorney general has stated that she believes that she has the right to spend the money as she sees fit. Although state laws require government expenditures to be approved by the legislature, there is some question as to whether this law applies to legal settlements. It is unclear at this time whether the courts may be asked to clarify this issue.
Florida homeowners who are facing foreclosure are in need of help. It has been reported that approximately 20 percent of homeowners are substantially behind on their mortgage payments. As a result, a distressed homeowner may benefit from seeking advice on what state sponsored programs may be available to provide the assistance needed to get their mortgage back on track.
Source: The Miami Herald, "Bondi and Legislature both claim authority over $300 million in foreclosure money," Tolu Olorunnipa, August 7, 2012