2017-18 LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES

Our 2017-18 Legislative Priorities on new legislation.   February 1, 2017

 An Act Relative to the Mass. Rental Voucher Program  SD1163 – Sponsored by Sen. James Eldridge. Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) is the most effective tool to immediately help families who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness to secure homes they can afford.  MRVP provides affordable housing for families and individuals experiencing instability.  Currently MRVP is only authorized through the annual state budget.  This bill codifies MRVP into the General Laws.  Codifying the program will create a more permanent authorization and allow for a more deliberative process to improve the program through legislation as MRVP grows to serve more households with permanent housing solutions.

An Act to Protect Families Experiencing Homelessness from Having to Sleep in Unsafe Places Public Housing Operating Subsidy HD1245  – Lead Sponsor: Rep Marjorie Decker.

628 otherwise shelter eligible families with children had to sleep in cars, bus stations and other unsafe places in FY16 before being found eligible for emergency shelter through the State’s Emergency Assistance program.  The cost to shelter these families even for three nights might be $100-300,000/yr.  In fear of a rush of families, DHCD projects a cost of $41M.  This Act simply adopts language proposed in the Supplemental Budget and for several prior budgets to correct this inhuman error for our “right to shelter” state.

 $15 Minimum Wage HD2719, SD984 – Lead Sponsors: Rep Donahue, Sen Donnelly.

This Legislation would raise the state’s $11 minimum wage by $1/hr each year over four years until it is $15 an hour in 2021 to be adjusted annually for increases in the cost of living. The legislation increase sub-minimum wage for tipped workers’ income to minimum wage by 2021 as has been done in eight other states.

 

An Act Financing the Production and Preservation of Housing for Low & Moderate Income Residents HD1074. – Lead Sponsors: Rep Honan, Sen Dorcena Forry.

This legislation invests $1.7B through the capital budget in affordable housing over five years, providing critical funding to produce, preserve and modernize public and affordable housing in communities across the Commonwealth.  The bill also extends the state Low Income Housing Tax Credit and expands its annual authorization by $5M to preserve affordable housing at risk of being lost due to expiring affordability restrictions.

An Act Relative to Housing Production HD925, SD1651.Lead Sponsors: Rep Honan, Sen Dorcena Forry.
This legislation provides financial incentives and new tools to meet the Commonwealth’s housing needs.  The bill requires cities and towns to allow multifamily housing in smart growth locations, accessory dwelling units, and open space residential developments as of right. It also presents new tools and strategies for regionalization and interagency collaboration to plan for the housing Massachusetts residents want and need.


An Act Relative to Low-Income Housing Tax Credits HD989, SD1640
.  – Lead Sponsors: Rep Honan, Sen Dorcena Forry.

The state Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) is a critical financing tool to develop and preserve affordable housing.  Unfortunately, many affordability restrictions are due to expire over the next two to three years.  This legislation increases the state LIHTC annual authorization by $5M for the purpose of preserving affordable housing.  The bill would also allow the tax credit to be taken in one year instead of over five years.

An Act Relative to Smart Growth Multifamily Housing Production HD993, SD1621. Lead Sponsors: Rep Honan, Sen Dorcena Forry.

This bill requires cities and towns to designate zoning districts where multifamily housing can be built as of right and without the need of a special permit in smart growth locations.

An Act to Sustain Community Preservation Revenue HD2225, SD588. – Lead Sponsors: Rep Honan, Sen Dorcena Forry.

This legislation ensures that the Community Preservation Act will remain an effective resource by increasing the program’s dedicated funding component for the state match – recording fees at the state’s Registration of Deeds – to provide a minimum 50% base match to CPA communities.