The 2012 legislative session was a bumpy ride. Lawmakers spent much of the session engaged in contentious debates about constitutional amendments and toward the end of session, the Vikings stadium and omnibus tax bill overshadowed many of their other work. The final bonding bill was only passed in the last days of session during marathon debates as the legislature raced toward a self-imposed early adjournment deadline. MCCD’s primary focus this session was the bonding bill. MCCD partnered with Minnesota Housing and a large contingent of housing advocates to push for bonding dollars for housing. Our partnerships included: Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless, Minnesota Community Land Trust Coalition, Minnesota NAHRO, Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services, HOME Line, MICAH, ISAIAH, the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition, and Minnesota Housing Partnership.
Our advocacy efforts surrounding bonding were ultimately successful, securing $30 million in housing infrastructure bonds and $5.5 million in General Obligation bonds for public housing rehabilitation. This was also the first year since 2007 that Minnesota Housing did not receive a reduction in state appropriations for programs. The following is a summary of our legislative work.
Capital Investment (Bonding) (Chapter 293)
Housing Infrastructure Bonds (Section 35‐36)
The legislation includes $30 million for housing infrastructure bonds to address affordable housing infrastructure needs. Funds will be used to preserve existing federally subsidized rental housing; stabilize communities impacted by the foreclosure crisis by creating new affordable housing opportunities through rental units and community land trusts; and construct or acquire and rehabilitate supportive housing, particularly for persons experiencing or at risk of experiencing long‐term homelessness. The agency will issue the bonds; a standing appropriation for 20 years was made to pay the debt service.
Public Housing (Section 23)
Section 23 appropriates $5.5 million in General Obligation (G.O.) bond proceeds to Minnesota Housing for the purpose of public housing preservation.
Harriet Tubman Center (Section 18, Subdivision 3)
In addition to the bond proceeds awarded to Minnesota Housing, $2 million in GO bond proceeds was directed to the MN Department of Human Services for the capital costs of the Harriet Tubman Center in Washington County for a domestic violence shelter and other services.
Environmental Response Fund (ERF) (Chapter 383A, Sections 80 & 81) – Not Extended
The mortgage registry and deed tax that funds ERF is .0001 (1/100th of 1 percent) of the value of the property transaction amount and principal. This assessment is equivalent to $30 on a $150,000 property sale. The ERF provides grants for environmental assessment and cleanup of sites that are unlikely to be funded by other grant programs but the legislation that authorizes Hennepin and Ramsey Counties to asses this tax sunsets January 1, 2013. The legislation to extend the sunset was not included in the final tax bills despite strong testimony by Hennepin and Ramsey county staff about the positive effects these funds have on job creation, property values and economic redevelopment of blighted areas.
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