Governor Baker recently announced the filing of an economic development bill for 2020. House Bill No. 4529, Act Enabling Partnerships for Growth, contains a total of $240 million in capital authorizations for housing, community development and business competitiveness. Notably, the bill includes the provisions of the governor’s Housing Choices legislation, which would enable cities and towns to adopt certain zoning best practices related to housing production by simple majority vote, rather than the current two-thirds supermajority. The HBRAMA strongly supports passage of the Housing Choices Bill.
The capital funding in H. 4529 includes $50 million for the production of high-density mixed-income affordable housing near transit nodes; $25 million for neighborhood stabilization to help return blighted or vacant housing back to productive use; and $10 million for sustainable and climate-resilient construction in affordable, multi-family housing developments to better prepare respond to climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The legislation would also raise the annual Housing Development Incentive Program cap from $10 million to $30 million and allow certified projects in “Gateway-like” cities (in addition to Gateway Cities) that are in need of increased housing production to be eligible for the program. Other proposed modifications include allowing carryover of awarded credits and allowing transfer of credits. A copy of H. 4529 can be found here. A summary of the bill can be found here.
Joining Governor Baker at the announcement of the economic development bill, were Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Michael Kennealy, Undersecretary of Housing and Community Development Jennifer Maddox and MassHousing Executive Director Chrystal Kornegay. Representing the HBRAMA at the event that was held at the corporate offices of Salem Five Bank on March 4, were Government Affairs Chairman Attorney John Smolak, Past President Mark Leff and association lobbyist Benjamin Fierro.