MCCD 2013 Session Wrap-Up

6/14/2013

Homes for All

MCCD advocated with Homes for All for increased appropriations for Minnesota Housing programs and DHS homeless service dollars this session.  We began the legislative session asking for increases of $25 million for Minnesota Housing programs; $25 million for DHS homeless programs and $50 million in bonding appropriations.  Our advocacy efforts through Homes for All was supported by over 80 organizations including labor groups, teachers, housing developers, health care providers and homeless service providers.  MCCD jointly held our first Day on the Hill during a snowstorm and over 30 MCCD members and MHP board members met with their lawmakers during the event.  During the legislative session MCCD staff met with each member of key committees in the House and Senate during the legislative session and with each member of the Conference Committee on the appropriations bills that fund Minnesota Housing and DEED programs.    We introduced six bills this legislative session, and provided member-testimony on each bill.

MCCD staff also participated in media outreach in collaboration with our Communications Team, which resulted in 17 media articles that directly mentioned the Homes for All Campaign, with many more discussing affordable housing and homelessness (see media attachment).  Finally, MCCD collected and shared information with lawmakers on member-investments in their districts and throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan area. According to this year’s member properties data request, MCCD members have developed or rehabbed 15,898 units of affordable housing in the Twin Cities metro area.

Through our coordinated efforts, we were appropriated an increase of over $21 million for Minnesota Housing’s programs and $7 million for DHS homeless service programs.  Of those increases over $20 million is ongoing base funding increases.  Funding increases include a $14 million increase to the Challenge Fund, a $4.4 million increase to the Housing Trust Fund and a $4 million increase to the Homeless Youth Act.  Once again, the power of collaborative advocacy is evident in the achievements of this work.  Check out this chart for more details and to see how the Homes for All ask stacked up against final appropriations.  Both bills were signed by Governor Dayton on May 23rd.

 Omnibus Tax Bill

The tax bill passed the Senate and House and was signed by the Governor. It includes:

  • Environmental Remediation Funds sunset extensions for Hennepin and Ramsey Counties which will allow this brownfield remediation fund to continue operating.
  • Improvements to the Renter’s Credit.
  • A 4d property tax classification cap for property taxes.  This language was amended into the bill during the Conference Committee work.  The intention of this bill to provide an upper threshold for property taxes paid by affordable housing.  The current class rate is .75%, and remains in effect up to $100,000 per unit.  Over $100,000 the property is taxed at .25%.  This new language is effective in assessment year 2014.

Bonding 

The legislature passed a very small ($156 million) bonding bill on the last day of the legislative session.  That bill includes mostly funding for the Capitol restorations along with some dollars for flood mitigation and the Minneapolis Veteran’s Home rehab.  Housing was included in earlier versions of the bonding bill, and while we are disappointed that the final bill did not support our housing needs, we look forward to advocating for bonding for housing next legislative session.