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Balance
Wheeler Posted  5 years ago By Jason Wheeler

The current Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellows share their ideas, inspirations and photos from the field on our blog. Learn more about the Fellowship.

Many in the affordable housing community will be acutely aware of last year’s “Building ‘Taj Mahals’ with Taxpayer Money*”, a scathing critique leveled at the rising cost of low-income housing tax-credit projects. Posted July 21, 2011 in the Voice of San Diego, the article contends that increasingly competitive requirements for amenities, green features, and site location have driven the cost of developing affordable housing to be more than double that of private, market-rate developments (At least, such seems to be the case in California).

The basic justification for any sort of taxation in a democracy is that taxes levied will be used for the general public benefit. Ranging from military defense and sewer systems to schools and vaccinations, these publicly funded goods and services improve life for the aggregate. Self-interested Keynesian economics dictate that without the intervention of public policy, many services critical for the success of large-scale economies would remain unfunded by the private sector.

And so we arrive at the questions that beg to be asked: is the low-income housing tax credit program a just use of tax-payer funds? Does the program benefit only the select few who happen to income-qualify, or is there a greater public benefit to all the rest of us who are footing the bill? Perhaps most importantly, should these affordable housing projects include nice amenities, or just provide for the basic necessities of life?

These questions, abstract and remote last July when I first read the diatribe of Taxpayers and Taj Mahals, came into sharp focus recently when one of our own projects came under fire from Utah’s tax-credit administering body for providing too many amenities. Suddenly my positions on the issue, previously certain and dogmatic, found themselves on shaky ground.

To read the rest of the post, please visit the Enterprise blog.


  
What other cities can learn from Seattle’s troubled ‘deep green’ building program
Newcomer Posted  6 years ago By Kimberly Newcomer
http://grist.org/cities/what-other-cities-can-learn-from-seattles-slow-to-start-deep-green-building-program/

Seattle's Living Building Challenge Pilot Program has several reasons for not being a bigger hit among developers desprite public incentives: buildings codes, bank loans, expense, NIMBY, and resident behavior seem to be the top 5 hold ups in registering with the program. 

"Seattle’s pilot program, Spataro says, “is a great way to address regulatory barriers” — even if it does take a while for the city to find developers who want to dance."

  
CRA 2.0: Los Angeles okays redevelopment agency replacement
Newcomer Posted  6 years ago By Kimberly Newcomer
http://archpaper.com/news/articles.asp?id=6229

The dissolution of the CRA, said Miguel Santana, city administrative officer, “provided the city an opportunity to look at redevelopment and economic development entirely differently. We saw it as a chance to figure out how we can be more effective in bringing about economic development.”

Possibly a good re-boot to look at the best practices in housing and economic development for LA.  Watching to see what comes together in the next year.

  
New York State Passes Real Property Tax Exemption Legislation for Green Buildings
Demers Posted  6 years ago By Raymond Demers
"Under Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York has become pro-active in promoting efforts to reduce energy demands and greenhouse gas emissions by promoting energy efficiency in homes and businesses througout the state." - Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr.

An interesting (brief!) article from the Green Buildings NYC website about how New York State is incentivizing green builing through property tax exemptions. 

More info on the tax exemption can be found on the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE).

  
A Jump Start for Affordable Workforce Housing
Owens Posted  6 years ago By Josh Owens
by Myron Curzan and Janet Lowenthal, Urban Land magazine
 
We desperately need a way to jump-start new housing construction. In select markets, this need can be met through employer-sponsored housing programs in which universities, government entities, corporations, hospitals, and other nonprofit organizations agree to contribute underused land to such programs—primarily for use by their own employees.
 
Most discussions of the U.S. hous­­ing sector have a Catch-22 element of contradictions. Reviving the homebuilding business is a prerequisite for climbing out of the Great Recession; but falling housing demand, high vacancy rates, and epidemic numbers of foreclosures have led homebuilders to put most new construction plans on indefinite hold.
 
One way to overcome this impasse is to think in local terms . . .
 
Continue reading the entire Urban Land magazine story: http://bit.ly/NaGjAj

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