Chairwoman Ram-Hinsdale introduced Representative Hango to the Senate Economic Development Committee on Thursday. Hango gave a simple and emotional endorsement of H.719 and mentioned some experiences surround the lack of housing in her and other legislator’s districts. Read more…
Representative Bartley spoke next, outlining many of the same points and noting how many people are getting priced out of Chittenden County and are attempting to move into her district but no homes are available. Representative Sims also echoed some of these comments.
Senator Clarkson asked about examples of how the bill addresses some of these issues. Then, more directly, “what are your appropriations asks here?” H.719 would remove some caps on the Downtown Village Tax Credit system. Sims had no specifics when asked but suggested it was a great question for the Joint Fiscal Office (JFO).
She also pointed to an exemption from property transfer tax (PTT) for property rehabs. Basically, this would freeze the education portion of property taxes for five years after a rehab took place (so the property wouldn’t be taxed on the, presumably, higher value). The goal would be to convert blighted buildings into mixed income residential units outlined.
Senator Cummings pointed out that because of the “fungible nature” of the Education Fund, they would simply be creating a “cost shift” for the rest of the fund taxpayers.
NOTE: This is not necessarily true. These properties aren’t de-valuing on the grand list, rather they would be increasing, but only after five years.
Appropriations in the bill include:
- $6M for the Vermont Housing Investment Program (VHIP).
- $2M for the Manufactured Homes Improvement and Repair (MHIR) Program.
- $1M for the Healthy Homes Initiative.
- $8M for the Housing Infrastructure Revolving Loan Program (new program).
- $5M for the “Missing Middle” program at VHFA which they suggested be renamed ‘Vermont Affordable Homes Development Program’ for clarity.
- $2.5M in one-time funds for Johnson University Campus for 15 units at HUD & Fair Market rates.
Landlord-tenant oversight laws came up, and Bartley was supportive, but cautioned that with such low vacancy rates they have to have these discussions “in context of that.”