Please Support Gateway City Legislative Leaders
Your advocacy can make a difference
In the final days of this Legislative session, two items hang in the balance that have great importance to Gateway City economic development efforts.
The first is the Housing Development Incentive Program (HDIP). After years of advocacy by Gateway Cities mayors, this market-rate housing production tool is finally doing exactly what it was designed to do—draw private residential investment into Gateway Cities that haven’t seen this form of development in decades. These investments are creating desirable housing options that help businesses attract and retain talented workers. They add much needed valuation to the local tax base. And since most HDIP projects are near existing transit stations, these new rental units are increasing ridership and generating much needed fare revenue for transit agencies. HDIP is a simple win-win-win proposition, but it is limited at just $10 million annually. An estimated $20 million backlog in projects has accumulated in the short 18-month span that the program has been fully functional.
The Senate takes up the omnibus economic development bill today. Senator Hinds has filed Amendment #48, which will raise the cap on HDIP from $10 to $20 million annually. Senator Hinds has seen first-hand how important this tool is to economic development efforts in Pittsfield. General Dynamics, a major employer in the Berkshires, reports that the attractive apartment units created in downtown Pittsfield through HDIP have become a crucial recruitment tool. And this is just one example of the beneficial impact that this program is having.
Community Benefits District (CBD) enabling legislation is the second end-of-session item that faces a difficult test. For over two years, Senator Crighton has worked tirelessly with other leaders to refine this tool and balance competing interests. CBD’s are about empowering cities to raise the revenues they need to invest directly in themselves for growth. It is exactly the kind of approach nonpartisan economic development experts have called for as state and federal funds have become increasingly constrained. Unfortunately, this commonsense approach has become a punching bag for ideological forces on both the right and left. We cannot let good Gateway City policy leadership become the victim of these divisive times.
Your advocacy can make a difference. Please take a moment tomorrow to encourage your local chambers, economic development organizations, and legislative delegations to fight for the HDIP increase and CBD enabling legislation. You can also send an email or place a phone call to the offices of the Speaker of the House, Senate President, and both House and Senate Ways and Means chairs. Our legislative leaders need to hear your voices to appreciate how important these tools are to Gateway Cities, and regional economic development more broadly.Sincerely,