Wednesday, January 24, 2018, was a very good day for Community Development in Massachusetts.
Governor Charlie Baker submitted his FY 2019 budget to the Legislature with a recommendation of $2 million for the Small Business Technical Assistance (SBTA) program. Over the past two years, funding for this program was reduced 62.5% to $750,000. MACDC was thrilled that the Governor proposed to restore funding to its historic level of $2 million. This program helps local entrepreneurs – in particular, people of color, immigrants and women located in urban and rural communities – to start and grow thriving businesses, which, in turn, provide jobs, wealth, vitality and hope to historically under-invested areas.
“Governor Baker’s budget demonstrates his commitment to expanding economic opportunity everywhere and for everyone,” said Joseph Kriesberg, President of MACDC.
MACDC members were also pleased by the Massachusetts House of Representatives passage of the $1.7 billion Housing Bond Bill that same day. The bill, originally filed by Rep. Kevin Honan and Sen. Linda Dorcena-Forry, passed overwhelmingly and ensures the continuation of the Commonwealth’s affordable housing programs by authorizing funding for housing production and preservation over the next 5 years, including the following allocations:
- $400 million for the Commonwealth’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund;
- $150 million for the Housing Stabilization Fund;
- $100 million for the Housing Innovations Fund;
- $125 million for the Capital Improvement and Preservation Fund;
- $45 million to support early education facilities; and
- $650 million for public housing modernization and to provide innovative financing tools.
The Housing Bond Bill also incorporates legislation to extend and expand the Community Investment Tax Credit (CITC), filed earlier in the legislative session by Rep. Steve Kulik and Sen. Sal DiDomenico. The proposal had more than seventy House and Senate co-sponsors. We are thankful for all their support. We are especially grateful that Rep. Sarah Peake offered an amendment to restore and expand the annual amount of tax credits available. Rep. Peake, working with House Ways & Means Chairman Jeffrey Sanchez and Committee staff, offered a successful amendment to increase the annual amount of tax credits available, incrementally growing CITC from its current cap of $6 million to $12 million in taxable years 2023 through 2025, and to lift the individual CDC cap in alignment with the growth of the overall program.
“By extending and expanding the highly successful Community Investment Tax Credit, the House bill, if ultimately enacted, would draw more private investment to support high impact community economic development across the state,” said Kriesberg.
The Housing Bond Bill also extended the sunset for the Massachusetts Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program, but did not include a requested $5 million increase in the program needed to offset the negative impact of the new federal tax law. MACDC and other advocates will be working with the Senate to secure this additional authorization.
MACDC extends its appreciation to the many legislators that helped move this legislation forward. In addition to Speaker Robert DeLeo, his leadership team and the sponsors and supporters mentioned before, MACDC thanks Rep. Carmine Gentile and Rep. Peake for sponsoring amendments to extend and to expand LIHTC and CITC, and these select members who offered their remarkable support for community development practice across the Commonwealth:
Rep. Patricia Haddad, Rep. Byron Rushing, Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante, Rep. Paul Donato, Rep. Jay Kaufman, Rep. Antonio Cabral, Rep. Ed Coppinger, Rep. Joseph McGonagle, Rep. Chris Walsh, Rep. Liz Malia, Rep. Adrian Madaro, Rep. Timothy Whelan, Rep. Smitty Pignatelli, Rep. John Scibak, Rep. Mike Connolly, Rep. Frank Moran, Rep. Marjorie Decker, Rep. Denise Provost, Rep. Christine Barber, Rep. Jay Livingstone, Rep. Jonathan Hecht, Rep. Tackey Chan, Rep. Todd Smola, Rep. William Crocker, Rep. David Vieira, Rep. Natalie Higgins, Rep. Paul Tucker, Rep. Solomon Goldstein-Rose, Rep. Evandro Carvalho, Rep. Dan Hunt