Legislature Overrides Budget Vetoes
Late last week, the House and Senate voted to override Governor Romney's FY 07 budget vetoes relating to the Soft Second Mortgage Program, the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program, and Residential Assistance for Families in Transition.
Soft Second: Restored $1.5 million for a total of $5 million.
MRVP: Restored $3.2 million for a total of $27.5 million.
RAFT: Restored $2 million for a total of $5 million.
The branches also overrode vetoes from the Economic Stimulus bill agreeing to recapitalize the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund with $30 million and to provide $50 million annually for the Massachusetts Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit.
CHAPA wishes to thank Speaker DiMasi and President Travaglini; Representative DeLeo and Senator Murray, the Ways and Means Chairs; and Housing Chairmen, Representative Honan and Senator Joyce; and our many other legislative supporters.
Expedited Permitting Bill Nears Final Passage
The expedited permitting bill, passed by the House last Thursday night, includes one of CHAPA's priorities. Section 13 of the conference committee's report (H.5207) bill allows the holder of a restriction (conservation, preservation, agricultural preservation, watershed preservation and affordable housing) the opportunity to collect reasonable attorneys' fees and costs incurred to enforce a restriction. The bill also includes certain smart growth criteria, language added at the request of the Smart Growth Alliance. The Senate is expected to take action on the bill this week.
Candidate's Paper and Transcript
The CHAPA Position Paper on State Housing Policy for the Gubernatorial Candidates is now available on our web site. You can download the report by clicking here. You can also download a transcript of the 2006 Gubernatorial Candidates' Forum on Affordable Housing, Homelessness, and Community Development.
Senate Appropriations Committee Passes HUD Budget
Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the federal HUD FY07 budget. The budget restores funds cut in the President's budget, including Section 8 vouchers, CDBG, public housing capital and operating funds, HOPE VI, Section 202 (elderly housing), and Section 811 (housing for persons with disabilities). The Senate budget exceeds the House-passed budget in almost all of these areas.
In addition, the Senate budget includes an improved funding formula for Section 8 vouchers based on actual leasing and costs for the most recent 12 months rather than the outdated snapshot from the spring of 2004. The Senate budget also allows housing agencies to charge Section 8 rent levels for project-based vouchers in low income housing tax credit developments, overriding HUD's project-based voucher rule of October 2005.
For a complete analysis of the Section 8 provisions, click here.
The budget now moves to the full Senate and then must be reconciled in a House-Senate conference committee. It is unclear whether Congress will be able to complete its work on the HUD budget prior to October 1.
For an updated HUD budget chart, click here.