Comprehensive Housing Spectrum Act Heard in House and Senate Committees

March 27, 2023

House and Senate versions the Comprehensive Housing Spectrum Act have been laid over for inclusion in omnibus bills after discussion on the state role in assisting cities with local housing efforts.

The Comprehensive Housing Spectrum Act has continued to make its way through the committee process. The bill, HF 743 (Rep. Matt Norris, DFL-Blaine), would create a grant program to encourage the development of residential property. It was laid over for possible inclusion in an omnibus bill on March 17 by the House Taxes Committee.

The Senate version, SF 1093 (Sen. Lindsey Port, DFL-Burnsville), was heard in the Senate Housing and Homelessness Prevention Committee on March 23 and laid over for possible inclusion in the Senate omnibus housing bill.

Committee hearing details

On March 7, the House Housing Finance and Policy Committee heard extensive testimony from the League and city officials in support of HF 743. After passage by the committee it was referred to the House Taxes Committee.

During the March 17 House Taxes Committee meeting, the bill’s tax provisions were heard, which included modifications to Tax Increment Financing provisions and an increase to the levy limit imposed on Housing and Redevelopment Authorities.

Changes were made to the Senate version of the bill during the March 23 Senate Housing and Homelessness Prevention Committee meeting. Provisions including the tax provisions and general obligation bond provisions were amended out of the bill to allow the committee to lay the bill over for possible inclusion in an omnibus housing bill.

What’s in the bill

The bill includes:

  • Support for Greater Minnesota cities for infrastructure development.
  • A housing cost reduction program to reimburse cities for fee waivers and reductions provided to developers.
  • Creation of the naturally occurring affordable housing program to acquire and repair existing properties.
  • Policy to address corporate investor purchasing.
  • A pilot program for infrastructure grants.

Testimony on the bill

The House Housing Finance and Policy Committee heard testimony from:

  • The League on the merits of each provision to address housing in a comprehensive way that addresses the full housing spectrum, supports local innovation, incentivizes cities, and includes policy and resources that are community-specific.
  • Golden Valley Housing and Economic Development Manager Cherie Shoquist, who:
    • Highlighted how different the needs of a built-out city like Golden Valley are from Greater Minnesota cities and other cities around the region that have abundant developable land.
    • Stressed the need for additional state resources for naturally occurring affordable housing preservation and additional flexibilities with local financing tools such as tax increment financing that cities often use to ensure affordability in development and redevelopment.
    • Emphasized the state role in supporting innovation at the local level and providing additional authority for cities to mitigate tenant displacement.
  • Greater Minnesota Partnership Executive Director Scott McMahon, who:
    • Focused on the Greater Minnesota perspective and highlighted the vast market differences that Greater Minnesota cities are dealing with and the myriad of ways the cities embark on supporting development through innovation at the local level to offset the lack of market activity in a city with immense workforce housing needs.
    • Discussed the need for policy and resources that are sensitive to regional differences, including state support for cities that help pay for infrastructure to attract development and flexibility for a housing redevelopment authority or economic development authority to build workforce housing in areas that need it when private developers will not.
  • Washington County CDA Executive Director Melissa Taphorn, who focused on the support the bill provides housing redevelopment authorities and economic development authorities.
  • The Minnesota Realtors Association and the Minnesota Multi Housing Association, who shared concerns about the bills tax provisions. Comments from the two opposing testifiers focused primarily on the ability for a housing redevelopment authority to impose a mortgage registry and deed tax and the proposal to implement an excise tax to deter corporate investor purchasing.

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