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Election 2018: Affordable Housing Update

Wednesday, November 14, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Emily Nilsen
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State Legislators Run on Affordable Housing Platforms

With Democrats sweeping the House, Senate and Governorship in Colorado, Housing Colorado and our advocacy partners are eager to take advantage of the many incoming legislators who ran on platforms that included affordable housing policy. The advocacy team and legislative committee have started meeting with leadership in advance of the 2019 session to establish the critical components of funding and policy issues that affect the Housing Colorado membership and the people we serve.  Please plan on participating in the Advocacy Webinar on January 18, 2019 (posted online soon) and attending the Legislative Luncheon on January 31, 2019 to participate in the organization’s exciting and relevant policy and advocacy work. 

Amendments 74, 112 Defeated; Transportation Lost Too 

Colorado voters rejected two amendments on November 6 that could have adversely affected affordable housing development in Colorado. Amendment 74, which would have allowed land-owners to sue over loss in property value due to government action, lost by a 7-point margin.  Amendment 112 would have increased the set-back for fuel development sites from human dwellings to 2,500 feet and was rejected by an 8 point margin.   Amendment 110 proposed to raise the state sales tax to pay for transportation projects lost by nearly 20 points – solidifying Colorado’s record for all rejecting tax increases not associated with either cigarettes or marijuana. 

Localized Housing Results in Colorado

Denver passed a sales tax for mental health services (including housing), estimating $45 million in revenue per year. Telluride had several measures on the ballot concerning affordable housing. The sales tax was defeated (2B); however, the mill levy increase (2A) and bonding of collected monies was passed (2C). Estimates suggest this will bring in $500,000 for affordable housing. Buena Vista had a lodging tax on the ballot which would go to capital improvements and infrastructure (2A) and was defeated. The Gunnison Valley Regional Housing Authority proposed a property tax increase to fund affordable housing (6A) and was defeated.

Ballot Proposals Concerning Housing in Other States

Local ballot measures in cities across the country acknowledged the need for more affordable housing funding. Austin, TX passed a $250 million bond measure for affordable housing. Charlotte, NC and Chapel Hill, NC both passed affordable housing bonds, $50 million and $10 million respectively. San Francisco, CA passed a new tax expecting to raise $300 million for homelessness programs and services. The Portland region passed $653 million in bonds for housing programs.  California state passed a landmark $4 billion bond for housing through Proposition 1. Read more here. A key takeaway from this momentum in other states is that citizens are mobilizing to inform their elected officials about the importance of housing. Perhaps, this will coalesce into more momentum on the national front.

Election Impacts on Housing Committees and Federal Legislation

(Excerpted from the National Low Income Housing Coalition)

The Democrats gained control of the House of Representatives and the Republicans grew their majority in the Senate in the midterm elections on November 6, although a few races remain undecided as of today with recounts and runoffs occurring in several states. Several high-profile candidates like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Deb Haaland (D-NM), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Katie Hill (D-CA) and others won on platforms that included bold housing solutions. While the split Congress will most likely lead to legislative gridlock at the federal level, NLIHC will continue to work with the many new and existing congressional housing champions to push for affordable homes for the lowest income people. Read more of this article here.

Members, if you have other important legislation or elections that you would like highlighted, please write in the comments. As a community, we are strong when we share our information with each other.  Write your comments below!

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