Side-by-side budget comparisonHousing and services bills have been moving rapidly through the House and Senate, as both bodies position themselves for end-of-session negotiations. It may come as no surprise that the House, Senate, and Governor's versions of the budget differ from each other when it comes to Minnesota Housing funding and homelessness services. A side-by-side budget comparison table and analysis follow with special focus on the $39 million increase sought in the Homes for All agenda for 2016-17 and on programs for housing for workers. It's an important time to reach out to legislators, as negotiations will be underway in the coming weeks.
Workforce housing has been a key policy priority for MHP, along with strong support for affordable housing through Homes for All. However, the MN House of Representatives' budget proposal for housing, released last week, funds workforce housing at the direct expense of programs that serve lower-income Minnesotans. The House proposal cuts key housing and homelessness programs, potentially pits Greater Minnesota against the Metro, and is likely to be inefficient and poorly targeted. The Senate proposal for housing will be released tomorrow (Wednesday). Neither chamber has released proposals for services dollars for homeless Minnesotans yet.
Rep. Keith EllisonLast week, Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison re-introduced the Common Sense Housing Investment Act for 2015 in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bold proposal would convert the mortgage interest deduction (MID), long considered untouchable yet highly regressive, to a non-refundable tax credit. The federal tax dollars saved would be directed to programs for lowest-income renters.
It's been a busy legislative session at the state capitol, and MHP has been actively engaged. We have two main priorities this year: 1) the Homes for All proposal to increase funding for housing and services by $39 million for 2016-17 and 2) expanding workforce housing in Greater Minnesota in ways that are well-targeted, effective, and at a scale more consistent with the need. Read more about where things stand at the Capitol so far this session.