During the months of September and October of 2017, MACDC staff met with board, staff, and community members of 15 CDCs from around the Commonwealth to identify priority issures for our 2017 - 2018 legislative/policy agenda.
We also received input from the Western Mass, Real Estate Development, and Organizer's peer groups; surveyed the membership; and had a number of conversations with allies at CHAPA, LISC, Smart Growth Alliance, and MAHA.
Our Policy Committee reviewed all of this input and made its recommendation to the board, which approved the following advocacy priorities:
- Passage of Housing Bond Bill
- Extending the CITC beyond the 2019 sunset
- Increase funding for the Small Business Technical Assistance Program to $2 million
We will over the course of the next legislative session work on other important issues as they arise. These three priorities are the issues that we will ask all of you to highlight at your "Doughnuts with your Delegation" meetings, at Lobby Day and throughout the year.
1. Extend the Community Investment Tax Credit (CITC) with An Act to Promote High-Impact Community Investment (H.2617 & S.1511)
Sponsored by Senator DiDomenico & Rep. Kulik
CHECK OUT MACDC's Testimony on the CITC program to the Joint Committee on Revenue
- Extend the CITC through 2025;
- Lift overall cap progressively to $12 million in 2023;
- Lift the individual CDC caps in alignment with the overall cap, maxing out at $300K in 2023.
2. An Act Financing the Production and Preservation of Housing for Low and Moderate Income Residents (H.675) – the Housing Bond Bill
Sponsored by Rep. Honan & Senator Dorcena Forry
- This bill will authorize $1.7 billion in capital funding for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, Housing Stabilization Fund, Housing Innovation Fund and other housing programs.
3. Increase Support for Small Business Technical Assistance Program
- Increase funding to $2 million
Additional Legislative and Policy Priorities for MACDC and its Members
MACDC and its members have endorsed a range of budget items and legislative proposals pending before the Massachusetts Legislature in 2017. In addition to our top three priorities – the Community Investment Tax Credit, Small Business Technical Assistance and the Affordable Housing Bond Bill – we will be working to support the enactment of the following proposals:
FY 2018 Budget
Building Blocks Coalition: MACDC is a member of the Building Blocks Coalition that advocates for full funding of numerous affordable housing programs in the state budget. We are particularly focused on the following housing programs:
- Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program – We are seeking $120 Million for MRVP in FY 2018. The Governor has proposed $97.5 million.
- Foreclosure Counseling and Homeownership Education: MACDC seeks $1.3 million for the Division of Banks to provide grants under the MGL Chapter 206 grant program to non-profit organizations that offer foreclosure prevention and homeownership education workshops and counseling.
The Governor's proposed budget level-funded many other Building Blocks priorities and MACDC will be working with Coalition partners to build up some of these account line items throughout the budget process.
Housing and Planning
Great Neighborhoods (Zoning Reform): An Act building for the future of the Commonwealth, filed by Reps. Kulik and Peake (HD 2587), and An Act promoting housing and sustainable development, filed by Sen. Chandler (SD 1069); initiatives supported by MA Smart Growth Alliance members to promote planning and zoning improvements to support neighborhoods and families, healthy communities, preserve open space, empower municipalities and planning for the future House Fact Sheet (HD 2587) | Senate Fact Sheet (SD 1609)
An Act relative to housing production (HD925 / SD1651) Sponsored by Rep. Kevin Honan & Sen. Linda 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.
Justice – Families – Communities
Criminal Justice Reform: An Act for justice reinvestment, filed by Rep. Keefe (HD 2714) and Sen. Chang-Diaz (SD 1128) is an omnibus bill aimed at:
- Ending long mandatory minimum sentences on drug convictions of non-violent persons;
- Raising the threshold for what's a felony on theft from $250 (the third lowest in the nation) up to $1500;
- Lowering probation and parole fees like the $65 a month ex-prisoners must pay in parole fees when ex-prisoners are already working at low wage jobs;
- CORI reform to lessen the sealing time before employers can no longer see court appearances on a CORI which leads to people not being hired (change the sealing time from 10 years for felonies and 5 years of misdemeanors to 7 years and 3 years);
- Increasing funding for in-prison education and job training, and increasing funding for reentry services especially for job training and job placement.
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC): An Act improving the earned income credit for healthier families, filed by Rep. Decker and Sen. Eldridge (HD 1264 / SD 1639) will:
- Increase the state Earned Income Tax Credit from 23 percent to 50 percent of the value of the federal EITC for all eligible recipients to reward work, increase economic mobility, and improve children’s health;
- Enable abandoned spouses and survivors of domestic violence to safely access the state EITC;
- Direct the Department of Revenue to engage in a comprehensive EITC promotion and outreach campaign to ensure no eligible EITC taxpayer fails to claim their credit.
Community Preservation Act: An Act to sustain community preservation revenue, filed by Representatives Stephen Kulik & Kevin Honan (HD 2225) and Senator Cynthia Stone Creem (SD 588). 172 cities and towns in Massachusetts rely on critical local aid from the Statewide CPA Trust Fund. Each CPA community voted to add a small surcharge to local property taxes and, in exchange, the state committed to provide matching funds. To sustain CPA for the benefit of all communities, legislation increasing the program’s dedicated funding component – recording fees at the state’s Registries of Deeds – must be passed. The goal is to provide a minimum 50% base match from the Trust Fund to all 172 CPA cities and towns. CLICK HERE for more information.
Safe Communities: An Act to protect the civil rights and safety of all Massachusetts residents, filed by Rep. Matias and Sen. Eldridge (HD 3052 / SD 1596), aka, The Safe Communities Act would protect the civil rights of all state residents by making sure our tax dollars are not used to help the Trump administration deport immigrant families or to create a Muslim registry. Specifically:
- No state support for Muslim registry. Prohibits access to information in state databases for use in any federal registry program based on national origin, religion or other protected characteristics;
- Ensures Basic Due Process Rights for people detained in state and local facilities for civil immigration violations;
- Use police resources to fight crime, not separate families. Ensures that state, local and campus police don’t participate in immigration enforcement activities that are based solely on immigration status;
- Prohibits agreements with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that deputize local officers as immigration agents.
Transportation and Energy Equity
An Act relative to regional transportation ballot initiatives, filed by Sen. Lesser and Rep. Walsh (SD 921 / HD 174).
This bill would enable one or more municipalities to raise transportation revenue via a ballot question. This method is widely used in dozens of states, and 71% of measures have been successful in the past 16 years. Public polling in Massachusetts has shown approximately 3/4 of registered voters support having this option.
An Act relative to transportation infrastructure value capture, filed by Rep. Straus (HD 351).
This bill would create the Supplemental Infrastructure Financing for Transportation program, which would enable municipalities and the state to agree to finance part of a state transportation investment with local tax increment financing.
An Act relative to solar power and the green economy, filed by Rep. Mark and Sen. Eldridge (HD 2157 / SD 1632). This legislation eliminates solar net metering caps, establishes a statewide solar target of 25% by 2030, and accelerates the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) – the “green power” mandate on utilities.
An Act relative to solar power in environmental justice and urban communities, filed by Reps. Holmes and Dubois and Sen. Chang-Diaz (HD 3418 / SD 841). This legislation restores full compensation for low-income solar projects serving environmental justice communities, directs the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) to address barriers such as income, housing type, and language in its solar programs, and lifts the net metering cap 5%.