MCCD's Senior Policy Advisor, Kari Johnson, advocates on behalf of MCCD and its members throughout the legislative session, while also acting as one of the policy co-chairs for the Homes for All Coalition and helping to lead economic development policy work in partnership with the Minnesota Asset Building Coalition. Here is an update from Kari about what to expect during the 2020 legislative session.
While the 2020 legislative session in Minnesota begins February 11th, preparation work has been going on for months. This year is a bonding year and all key players, Governor Tim Walz (DFL), House Speaker Melissa Hortman (DFL) and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (GOP), have all expressed interest in getting bonding bill done to make progress on long-term projects. The major disagreement will come down to the overall number of the bonding bill. It is possible that there may be small supplemental budget and tax bills as well, but given that it is an election year, expect to see a lot of political messaging bills (i.e. more controversial topics) that take up a lot of energy and space, which will likely lead to a lot of tension in end of session negotiations.
Affordable Housing: MCCD continues to endorse and advocate for Homes for All’s legislative agenda. The top 2020 affordable housing priority on that agenda will be the $500 million bonding request and seeking approval of new eligible uses.
- $400 million for Housing Infrastructure Bonds
- New Eligible Use – Deeper affordability (50% AMI and under, especially targeted at 30% AMI) not necessarily tied to wrap-around supportive services
- One-time eligible use – 10% ($40 million set-aside to support shelter capital needs
- $100 million for General Obligation bonds to preserve and make safety upgrades to public housing
Homes for All is taking the opportunity this session to talk about the true affordable housing needs across the continuum in Minnesota, with the hope of a significant ongoing funding request in 2021. The coalition’s bonding ask is more proportional to the need than the requests made in the past. Additionally, the coalition will continue to work on funding, policy and tax items from last year as appropriate.
Economic Development: MCCD continues to partner with the Minnesota Asset Building Coalition. Collectively, with all of our economic development members, we will be holding a number of meetings throughout 2020 to discuss and ultimately shape a proposal to better support the small business continuum with state funding and policies. While there is not a direct ask for the 2020 session, the hope is that a comprehensive proposal will take shape leading to a 2021 legislative agenda.