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Florida House moves to limit school impact fees

Growing school districts would likely feel the pinch more.

With almost no discussion, the Florida House adopted a bill Monday that would scale back school districts’ ability to increase the fees they charge to offset the impact of new construction.

The action came in legislation (HB 1299) that also limited local governments from banning the use of plastic straws or setting age restrictions for nicotine product purchases.

If ultimately placed in law, school impact fees would not be permitted to rise by more than 5 percent over two years.

To put that in some perspective, the Pasco County School Board in 2017 won approval to nearly double its impact fee, as a way to help cope with booming enrollment growth and housing development. It had not seen a fee increase in nearly a decade before that.

Just last week, the Santa Rosa County School Board — also facing rapid growth and overcrowded campuses — asked to restart impact fees after having waived them since 2008. The increase would be as much as $5,000 for certain homes, up from zero.

The sponsor of the amendment simply described what it does to the House, which approved the idea with no questions or debate. On Monday, the bill was introduced on final reading and adopted two minutes later.

It has been delivered to the Senate, where it was referred to two committees.

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