Through Senate Bill 1537 and budget request, Kotek had asked for $600 million in funding, including $200 million for revolving loans developers could use to build homes for middle-income Oregonians, $200 million to help cities and tribal councils pay for infrastructure needs, $65 million to keep existing homeless shelters running and $35 million for eviction prevention. The Senate Housing and Development Committee cut her request almost in half on Tuesday when it unanimously approved an amended version of the bill and a separate budget measure, Senate Bill 1530, with a total of $350 million.
This bill is another attempt at the 2023, HB 3414, which didn’t pass and argues that it undermines the 50-year-old land use process by which communities make land available for housing construction. However, out of 63 million acres, land use laws have restricted use for development to 35,000 acres. Grabbing farm and forest land may not be the answer without building regulation reform, UGB infill abilities, and a reduction in many of the laws that are driving up labor and material costs.
There are three physical inputs to the housing supply process: land, labor, and materials. There is also an intangible factor that is even more important: government regulation. SB 1537 doesn’t help much in these areas. The UGB expansions may increase housing supply slightly, but that gain is offset by the affordable housing and density mandates in the bill.
This measure appropriates a total of $89,507,088 million General Fund to three different state agencies in the 2023-25 biennium. The agencies receiving appropriations include the Oregon Business Development Department (OBDD), the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) , and the Housing and Community Services Department (HCSD). The measure creates the following new funds separate and distinct from the General Fund, with each fund continuously appropriated to its respective agency:
(1) Housing Accountability and Production Office Fund (HAPOF) in DLCD: The measure includes two General Fund appropriations to the Fund, with $5.0 million for technical assistance and grant funds, and $5.6 million for administrative and programmatic expenditures.
(2) Housing Infrastructure Support Fund (HISF) in OBDD: General Fund in the amount of $3.0 million is appropriated to OBDD for the HISF and the agency’s administrative costs to provide grants to municipalities for capacity building and support for infrastructure planning.
(3) Housing Project Revolving Loan Fund (HPRL) in HCSD: A $75.0 million General Fund appropriation to this Fund is included in the measure, to provide no interest financing of loans for eligible infrastructure costs to local sponsoring jurisdictions and provides for additional fees to cover jurisdiction and county costs associated with making grants from the Fund. The Fund has a sunset date of June 30, 2025.
Until public safety is funded to help enforcement continue taking down cartel, it is hard to support socialism takeover of construction.