GC Journal: Gov, Legislature deliver big for Gateway Cities
The Gateway Cities Journal
Wednesday, Governor Healey signed into law a tax cut package negotiated by the House and Senate that includes some big wins for Gateway City residents, businesses, and investors.
Most notably, An Act to improve the Commonwealth’s competitiveness, affordability, and equity (H.4104) includes a longstanding MassINC policy recommendation to scale up the wildly successful Housing Development Incentive Program (HDIP).
The new tax law will eliminate the five-year backlog of HDIP projects by increasing its $10M cap to $57M in year one, followed by an ongoing cap of $30M thereafter. MassINC staff has estimated that an expanded HDIP program could create up to 12,500 new units of housing in Gateway City downtowns over the next 10 years, representing more than $4B in new investment.
HDIP has proven to be the state’s best tool for bringing mid-sized, underutilized properties in strategic locations back to life, particularly in some of the state’s weaker real estate markets—with 91% of funded projects to date located outside of metro Boston. This is the housing program that Gateway Cities have long requested. At least 26 mayors and city managers made this a top priority, as did 50 economic development and real estate organizations.
The Legislature smartly paired this investment with an expansion of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), increasing the annual cap from $40M to $60M annually. State LIHTC credits help address the ongoing need for more deeply subsidized housing units in every community. And since LIHTC credits can be claimed for five years, this $20M increase has a $100M impact.
Gateway Cities find themselves in a strong position to build on these accomplishments when the Healey administration releases its housing bond bill later this fall.
But the tax bill includes other provisions that will directly benefit their residents, especially:
- Doubling the Senior Circuit Breaker Tax Credit from $1,200 to $2,400 for low-income seniors struggling with high rents or real estate taxes;
- Increasing the Rental Deduction from $3,000 to $4,000; and
- Expanding the Child and Dependent Tax Credit from $180 to $310 in 2023 and to $440 in 2024 and beyond.
MassINC thanks legislators and the administration for passing a law that directly tackles the housing needs of Gateway Cities and puts real money in the pockets of their low-and moderate income families
Housing and Economic Development
The Worcester city council adopts a new state building code that calls for electrification of new construction.
The Haverhill city council adopts an inclusionary zoning ordinance.
The Sentinel & Enterprise editorializes in favor of artist housing with a celebration of NewVue Communities’ adaptive reuse of a former high school, a gargantuan effort more than a decade in the making.
The Urban Institute catalogs policies to address housing market challenges.
Despite opposition from Worcester officials, Keolis moves ahead with changes to the “Heart to Hub” commuter express train, adding stops between Worcester and West Natick.
Worcester officials and state transportation officials have applied for a $2 million federal grant to study reconnecting neighborhoods that were split by highways in the late 1950s.
The Boston Globe Great Divide team draws more attention to the inequities in school building in Massachusetts by looking at efforts to construct modern city schools in Maryland.
Next City celebrates the trend of higher education facilities moving downtown.
Mayor Jon Mitchell easily tops the ticket in New Bedford’s preliminary election on Tuesday.Communities & People
The Eagle Tribune reports on Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini’s selection for the 2023 Mayor Bill Carpenter Award for Excellence in Gateway City Leadership.
Boston Globe columnist Renee Loth celebrates the achievements and new memoir of Charlie Gargiulo, the founder of Lowell’s Coalition for a Better Acre.
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