Lawmakers move revolving fund for housing forward without price tag

Lawmakers opted not the include an explicit price tag for a program designed to incentivize affordable housing construction throughout the state before passing the bill through the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday.

House Bill 1005 now goes to the full House.

Rep. Doug Miller, R-Elkhart, helmed a task force that approved 16 recommendations to address the state’s housing shortage, and presented the bill before a committee last week. That panel approved the bill, recommitting the legislation to Ways and Means, which spearheads the drafting efforts for the state’s two-year budget.

Under the legislation, the General Assembly would create a revolving loan fund under the Indiana Finance Authority for building infrastructure related to new housing developments, including water, sewage, sidewalks and more. The majority of the funds, 70%, would be dedicated to communities with less than 50,000 residents to spur construction in smaller municipalities.

“I’m in front of you today to ask for an appropriation for funding this mechanism,” Miller said. “We have not made a specific ask.”

“It’s on the list,” Ways and Means Chair Rep. Jeff Thompson told the committee. This is the Lizton Republican’s first session as chair of the powerful committee following the retirement of Rep. Tim Brown last year.

After more questioning, Miller suggested somewhere between $150-200 million due to the high demand for housing funds demonstrated under the Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative. Under that program, nearly one-third of community asks were related to housing.

To qualify, municipalities must meet a certain set of requirements, such as zoning ordinances that permit multi-family buildings and a housing study to determine need – though an amendment relaxed the latter requirement to make it easier on localities.

An additional amendment added some clarifying language on utilities. An amendment allocating $50 million annually wasn’t called before the committee.

The Indiana Capital Chronicle is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that covers state government, policy and elections.

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