Housing Reform, Part 2

Testifying on AB 609, October 12

Following the announcement last week of legislative Republicans' "Fixing Foundations" housing reform package - which is intended to address Wisconsin's workforce housing crisis - the Assembly Committee on Housing and Real Estate held a lengthy hearing on these proposals on October 12.  The final bill of the package to be heard was Assembly Bill 609, which I had introduced with bipartisan support.  AB 609 would give municipalities an important new tool in the form of local housing investment funds, self-sustaining sources of revenue to be used to encourage the development of affordable workforce housing.

Testifying with Sen. Robert Cowles on AB 517, October 12.

Earlier that day, at the Assembly Committee on Ways and Means (on which I serve), I presented testimony on behalf of Assembly Bill 517, which will expand the definition of "environmental pollution" for the purposes of environmental rehabilitation tax increment districts, which are additional tools to encourage development.  Under AB 517, developers would be able to include in their covered project costs the costs not only of containing and removing pollutants that are currently in the air, soil, or water, but also the costs of addressing hazardous materials such as asbestos and lead that could be released "into the wild" during the redevelopment process.  AB 517 is the companion bill of Senate Bill 518, which I discussed in a previous E-Update.

The ways and means committee also voted to approve Assembly Bill 223, a bipartisan bill I introduced that fixes a "doughnut hole" in which the pensions of federal employees who entered federal service between 1964 and 1984 are taxable, while the pensions of federal employees who were hired before or after are tax-exempt.  There are currently about 20,000 Wisconsin residents who find themselves in this unfair situation, including retired postal workers and civilian employees of the Armed Forces, the VA, and other federal agencies.  AB 223 is the companion of Senate Bill 246, which I also discussed in a previous E-Update.

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