Governor Scott responds to Senate Economic Development's housing bill

Making it Less Expensive, Faster and Easier to Build Housing and Restore Dilapidated Units is Essential 

Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott today issued the following statement on S.311, An act relating to bringing everyone home. This bill was passed unanimously out of the Senate Economic Development committee last week and will now move to Senate Natural Resources. S.311 includes many of the proposals in H.719, An act relating to housing development and unit rehabilitation, a tri-partisan bill introduced in the House with the Administration’s partnership, but the House has not taken it up.

“If we want to make the most of the hundreds of millions of dollars we’ve invested in housing, we must make it less expensive, faster and easier to build and rehabilitate housing in Vermont. Because despite historic investments, there remains a lack of housing to meet the needs of Vermonters in every single county.

“To make sure we revitalize communities across the state, we need to restore the housing we have and build more to ensure the Vermonters we have – and the additional workers we need – have a safe, affordable place to call home.

“The expanded exemptions to Act 250, and changes to municipal zoning and the appeals process in S.311, along with the targeted tax incentives to revitalize housing in communities that need it most are critical to achieving these goals. We have to remember, public funding accounts for only a fraction of investments made in housing. Meaning regulatory reform will spur more investment from the private sector, who do most of the homebuilding in Vermont.

“While I’m concerned with a new tax proposal and areas where regulations were added, as well as increased spending that just isn’t feasible this year, we can continue to work to address these concerns. And I greatly appreciate the work of Chair Ram Hinsdale and all committee members for listening to Vermonters who want us to make housing a priority.

“It’s important to know this is just a first step. This bill will go into Senate Natural Resources and me and my team stand ready to keep up the momentum and make sure this bill does all it can for our housing crisis. The fact is, while S.311 will help us make more progress, as it stands now, it will not close the entire housing gap. That means any provisions that are removed as it moves through the Legislature will put us further behind.

“We need people to watch what their legislators are doing on this bill and for all legislators – regardless of the committee you sit on – to call on your colleagues to pass the strongest possible housing bill this session. More housing is key to ensuring we can sustain our education system, revitalizing communities, creating more opportunities for families and workers, improving public safety, addressing addiction and drug crime, and more. This issue is clearly too important to sit on the sidelines.”

Source: 2.22.2024. Montpelier | www.vermont.gov

Vermont Business Magazine