Last Wednesday, the Chamber Vice President of Government Affairs, Joshua Lunger, testified in support of the bi-partisan Housing Michigan legislation from sponsors Senator Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids), Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City), Jeremey Moss (D-Southfield) and Ken Horn (R-Frankenmuth).
We expect the Committee to vote these bills out to the full House this week.
What do the bills do?
The legislation uses three proven concepts that have been active in Michigan to create new flexible and locally driven incentives for workforce housing. The legislation uses three proven concepts that have been active in Michigan to create new flexible and locally driven incentives for workforce housing.
SBs 362 & 422 are modeled on Commercial/Industrial Facilities Exemptions, SB 364 extends NEZ to allow all local units to use them with some added language to protect against sprawl, and SB 432 allows for local PILOTS (or PILTS) for workforce housing without requiring state or federal subsidies or programs.
The legislation has common principles:
- They are opt-in. Local governments will decide if, when, how, and for what to consider using the tools to support workforce housing. Through public-private partnership with housing providers, developers and builders, local governments can take action to meet their community needs.
- Flexibility is provided to ensure the tools will be viable from the Upper Peninsula to Detroit to West Michigan. There are guardrails and caps, but the locals can negotiate and target their support based on project realities and the benefits it will provide to a community.
- The projects will provide supply of attainable housing for where it is needed most: working households. Our own research shows that we need a lot of housing at all price points. Programs like low-income housing tax credits help with the lowest income levels, but preserving or creating new housing for average wage earners is a critical gap. These tools provide a limited incentive that can be used to support this need.
To get involved in our attainable housing efforts, contact our Director of Policy & Communications at Housing Next, Brooke Oosterman, at Brooke@grandrapids.org.