2019 - 2020 Advocacy Agenda


 

The Massachusetts Legislature began a new two-year session in January 2019.  Based on conversations and feedback from our members and the core priorities in our Strategic Plan, here are some key policy items that have emerged for us to pursue over the next two years:

 
Community Preservation Act (CPA) 
  • There is growing momentum to secure increased state matching dollars for CPA.  This is a top priority.  Sen. Cynthia Creem and Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante will introduce legislation to increase the deeds fee to $75. We also will work to achieve program reforms to ensure that cities and towns meet their obligation to spend at least 10% of their CPA funds on housing. 
 
Economic Development Initiatives 
  • Small Business Technical Assistance (SBTA) program:  increased funding from $2 million in FY 2019 (line item 7002-0040) to $4 million in FY 2020 through a dedicated revenue stream Gaming Commission Economic Development Fund – to stabilize SBTA Program; 
  • Obtain increased funding for the CDFI/CDC matching grant program to $2.5 million in FY2020 (Note: the Microlending and Community Development Capital Program was reauthorized through the last economic development bond bill at $1.25 million.) 
  • Strengthen the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund so that it is easier for municipalities and non-profits to use and to increase the annual volume of investment from $2 million back to its historic level of about $6 million per year;  
  • Support program funding and partnerships to boost state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), individual and family asset development, credit repair assistance and support for criminal justice reforms. 
 
Housing (affordability, production, preservation, homeownership) 
  • Increased funding in housing capital budget (dollar amount, TBD); 
  • Maintain Chapter 206 funding ($2 million) from the MA Division of Banks (DOB) (line item 7006-0011) to enable nonprofit counseling agencies to provide homebuyer education and foreclosure-prevention counseling; 
  • Increased funding in housing operating budgets, including MRVP ($130 million); 
  • Housing Choice legislation and other zoning reform revisions;
  • Programmatic improvements for Community-Scale Housing Program;
  • Support anti-displacement initiatives such as “Right to Purchase” legislation, local tax surcharges (non-primary residences), Right to Counsel, eviction protection for elderly, tax credits (incentives) to keep unregulated units affordable; 
  • Limit federal housing policy rollbacks (e.g., Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) rulemaking/weakening revisions by Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), other regulators; HUD Budget); 
  • State funding and support for revived homeownership initiatives, including but not limited to affordable homeownership development; 
  • Comprehensive Neighborhood Stabilization Initiative to promote neighborhood revitalization efforts in Gateway Cities and other weaker markets. Rep. Cabral and Sen. Lesser, the co-chairs of the Gateway Cities Legislative Caucus, will introduce legislation to implement the MassINC and MACDC report recommendations. 
 
Community Development & Community Health 
  • Get-the-Lead-Out Program:  additional state funding to recapitalize the lead paint abatement program and other policy reforms; 
  • MA Food Trust program:  secure additional state capital dollars ($1 million annually or more) to improve access to healthy food and to provide loans, grants, and technical assistance to ensure support for local food enterprises and enhanced equity in low- and moderate-income communities. 
 
Select Revenue Measures 
  • Boston Home Rule petition to strengthen Linkage and Inclusionary Development in the City of Boston 
  • Support Transfer Fee Enabling Legislation (Rep. Mike Connolly and Sen. Joseph Boncore) to allow cities and towns to assess a fee on the purchase price on residential and commercial real estate transactions. 

Documents:

Comments and Letters

Testimony

Endorsements

MACDC 2017 - 2018 Legislative Fact Sheets