Housing activists are eyeing the bond bill for funding, and potential transfer fees

State Council News Service

it’s snowing Eight months into the administration of Gov. Maura Healy, the wait continues for major proposals from the corner office to address perhaps the governor’s defining issue: housing and production affordability.

Some people in the advocacy world feel this will change soon, and want the governor to “move big” to address the state’s housing crisis.

“We’ve heard that a housing bond bill may come up sometime this month,” Phil Jones of the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization told the News Service on Tuesday. “We expect the governor to submit her proposal first.”

Jones said he hasn’t heard what’s in the bill, and said some lawmakers have said they’re waiting for Healy to make the first move — the executive branch oversees the state’s capital spending, putting it in a good position to understand which programs might run low on available funds.

Housing activists have been pushing the idea of ​​enabling cities and towns to assess fees on real estate transactions to raise money for affordable housing, and Jones said administration officials “spoke positively” about the idea at a recent GBIO event, but the organization isn’t sure if Healy will Actually suggests it.

“We’re not sure where that will show up, but we feel confident it will pass administrative support in this hearing,” said Jones, who lives and rents in Boston and is co-chair of GBIO’s Housing Justice Campaign. “She can turn it into a bond bill.”

Many supporters of the transfer fee would like to see the new tax imposed on high-end housing transactions, crafting a proposal that would enable all 351 cities and towns to benefit from the new fee system, not just those with higher property values, which is what looms large. Horizon as an alternative. Policy challenge.

The real estate lobby fiercely opposed conveyance fees, derided them as new taxes, and helped defeat toll proposals for years in Beacon Hill.

GBIO and other housing groups have identified $8.5 billion in deferred maintenance that needs to be addressed in state-owned public housing units and hope to include at least $1 billion in the bond bill. Transfer fees, public housing investments, and access to housing for people coming out of prison are among the topics GBIO plans to push through during a fall campaign that includes meetings with state representatives and senators, Jones said.

“Our best move is to try to bring these issues to the public eye as much as possible,” he said.

The Citizens Housing and Planning Association hopes the bond bill will recapitalize programs that serve working families, seniors, people with disabilities, and the homeless. The group expects Healy to introduce a housing bond bill in the spring, according to its website.

In 2018, lawmakers and Governor Charlie Baker agreed on a $1.8 billion five-year housing bond bill, and supporters say the money from that package is running out. During a budget debate in May, Senators Liz Miranda and Jimmy Eldridge talked about the need for improvements in 43,000 public housing units in 242 Massachusetts communities.

“The thing on many of us’ minds is the Affordable Housing Bill and the need to pass it in this session,” said Eldridge, former co-chair of the legislature’s Joint Committee on Housing.


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