Florida to spend $60 million from banks settlement

TALLAHASSEE — Florida is nearly doubling the amount of money available to help first-time homebuyers under a plan going before state lawmakers next week.

A legislative panel is expected to sign off on spending $60 million. The money came from a national $25 billion settlement with five of the nation's largest mortgage lenders over foreclosure abuses.

The state got $334 million directly under the settlement, but the money remained in escrow for months because Attorney General Pam Bondi and state legislators disagreed over who had authority to spend the money.

The first portion of the money will go to pay to help courts deal with foreclosure cases and pay for legal aid but $35 million will also go to help homebuyers including assisting them with down payments.

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