Massachusetts House of Representatives introduces $6.2 billion bill to expand inexpensive housing

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Democrats within the state House of Representatives plan to vote this week on a $6.2 billion housing bond bill that features a big selection of initiatives to create more cost-effective housing and promote sustainable development.

The bill is a revision of the $4 billion Affordable Homes Act that Gov. Maura Healey introduced within the House in October. The revision, released Monday, eliminates Healey's proposal for a property transfer tax on high-cost properties, but retains the initiative to permit additional housing units in certain districts and expands funding for renovating the state's existing public housing.

In a opinionHouse Speaker Ron Mariano called the bill “the largest investment in affordable housing and housing in Massachusetts history.”

What's within the $6.2 billion housing bill?

The Suggestionwhich was presented on Monday, is 123 pages long and includes investments, tax relief and changes to the land use regulations.

Mariano told reporters Monday that the bill was the “beginning of a process” to unravel the state's housing crisis. after To .

The bill provides $2 billion for the renovation, reconstruction and reconstruction of the greater than 40,000 existing public housing units within the state – about $500 million greater than Healey’s bill proposed. Reports indicate that the state's public housing system is underfunded and in poor condition.

$150 million of this money will go to finance public housing projects that include sustainability and decarbonization initiatives.

Another billion dollars would go to the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority to expand its access to water for housing. These funds weren’t included in Healey's original bill.

The money would also help improve drinking water quality in cities and communities where water is contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also referred to as “forever chemicals.”

$150 million can be allocated to assist cities and towns convert industrial properties into housing, and $200 million will go towards housing for individuals with special needs, including veterans, seniors and victims of domestic violence.

60 million dollars are earmarked for equipping apartments with handicapped-accessible amenities.

Offer without real estate transaction fee

The latest bill features a proposal in Healey’s document This would have allowed cities and towns to impose a transaction fee of 0.5 to 2 percent on real estate sales over $1 million. This money would have gone toward the event of inexpensive housing and was supported by Boston Mayor Michelle Wu.

“It is disappointing that there has been no progress on the transfer fee, a widely popular measure that would provide the necessary funding to create more housing and more affordable prices,” Wu said in an announcement to “Our regional housing crisis is the greatest threat to the Commonwealth's economy, and we need every solution possible to make a difference.”

The initiative met with criticism from some real estate developers who said the tax would create an unstable source of income.

State is under pressure to maintain pace with demand for housing

Healey said in October her proposal is predicted to create over 40,000 latest homes and preserve over 27,000 existing housing units. The Commonwealth needs to construct 200,000 homes by 2030 to maintain up with increasing demand, Healey wrote in her proposal to the House of Representatives.

Mariano said it was “difficult” to say what number of housing units the House proposal would trigger, but said in an announcement that the rewritten bill was a “concerted effort” by state lawmakers to alleviate the housing crisis.

“The cost of buying a home or renting an apartment in Massachusetts is among the highest in the United States. This crisis has hurt the state's competitiveness with other states and put the American dream out of reach for many of our young people,” Mariano said in an announcement on X. “But with this bill, the House of Representatives is making a concerted effort to change that reality by improving access to affordable and middle-income housing and ensuring the state's infrastructure system is equipped to accommodate an increase in housing construction.”

Healey said she had not read the bill as of Monday, the station reported. She also didn’t reply to a request from for comment on the bill Monday evening.

“We have offered a range of options, ideas and policy initiatives to boost production,” Healey told reporters, the broadcaster reported. “That's what this is about.”

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