This morning, the long-awaited Senate bonding proposal was released by the Capital Investment Committee. The proposal includes $80 million for housing. We are grateful to Senate Capital Investment Committee Chair Stumpf and the entire committee for such a strong showing for housing. How does this compare to the House proposal, and what does it mean for securing $100 million in bonding for housing, the goal of the Homes for All alliance this year?
The Senate bill differs from the House bill in a few ways:
- The Senate bill contains a total of $80 million for housing with $70 million in housing infrastructure bonds to create supportive housing, to preserve federally-assisted housing, and to help foreclosure impacted areas, and $10 million in government obligation (G.O.) bonds to rehabilitate public housing. By contrast the House bill has $100 million for housing in alignment with the Homes for All request, with $80 million for housing infrastructure and $20 million in G.O. bonds.
- The $80 million in the Senate bill is completely contained within the omnibus bonding bill. In the House, the $20 million in G.O. bonds appears in the bonding portion of the capital investment proposal, and the $80 million appears in a separate portion to be paid with cash. This difference is important because bonding bills require a two-thirds majority, while cash bills require only a simple majority to pass. In both houses, some Republican votes will be required to reach a two-thirds majority to approve bonding.
- Overall, the Senate proposal totals just shy of $1.1 billion, with $846 million in bonds and $200 million in cash. The House proposal stands at $975 million, with $850 million in bonds and $125 million in cash. The total dollar amount of the bonding bill is expected to remain a sticking point for legislators as they approach final negotiations. The Republican caucus has stated that a bonding bill no larger than $846 million should be sufficient to meet the state's needs.
As part of the Homes for All alliance, we would like to proudly thank our chief authors, Senator Leroy Stumpf and Representative Alive Hausman, who chair their respective Capital Investment committees. Both have been tireless advocates for housing and have put housing in a very strong position for final negotiations this session. Both proposals come in substantially above the $50 million originally proposed by the Governor.
We will continue to support $100 million for housing, knowing how deep the needs run in our communities. In particular, we will be working to shore up support for G.O. bonds for public housing rehab, which was cut from $20 million to $10 million in the Senate version of the bonding bill.
Investment in housing in these proposals is a particularly good way to ensure that our state's investments will help create and rehabilitate thousands of units of housing for low income Minnesotans all across the state.