This housing security and economic mobility package promotes equity, opportunity, and resilience through preserving neighborhoods, stabilizing vulnerable households, supporting small businesses, removing barriers that keep people in poverty, providing new pathways to good jobs, and continuing to leverage Boston's prosperity to build a more inclusive and equitable city.
You can learn more in the Housing Security and Economic Mobility press release.
AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE CITY OF BOSTON TO LIMIT BUILDINGS ACCORDING TO THEIR USE OR CONSTRUCTION TO SPECIFIED DISTRICTS
Presenter/Sponsor: Representative Kevin Honan
Linkage was created as a way for commercial development to contribute to the City’s needs for affordable housing and workforce development, mandating that a fee per square foot be directed to the Neighborhood Housing Trust Fund and The Neighborhood Jobs Trust, with the City being allowed to make a CPI adjustment every three years. However, given the cyclical nature of building booms, greater flexibility has proven necessary to share the benefits of our current economic growth with more residents. In order to provide Boston with the ability to make adjustments to the Linkage formula as needed, the bill would eliminate the restriction on making adjustments only once every three years, allowing the City to respond to market conditions in real time. This bill would also codify the City’s Inclusionary Development Program (IDP) into the Zoning Code, so that as the City upzones and more projects become as-of-right, the City does not lose its ability to collect IDP.
An Act To Sustain Community Preservation Revenue
Presenter/Sponsor: Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante and Senator Cynthia Stone Creem
This bill would protect the vital Community Preservation Act that more than 170 cities and towns depend on for the creation of affordable housing, open space, and historic preservation. It would adjust the surcharge on fees for recording deeds to increase the State CPA match. When municipalities voted to enact CPA, they did so with the promise of a substantial state match. This year, the match was just 19%, meaning that the CPA bill people voted for is no longer the same bill. This would help to bring CPA more in line with what voters agreed to.
- Read Mayor Walsh’s letter to the Joint Committee on Revenue.
- Status: The FY20 budget increases the State CPA match, raising an estimated $36 million in more revenue. This increase would put the state match at around 30 percent, allowing us to invest more in our communities and support affordable housing, historic preservation, and parks and open space.
An Act to Ensure Right to Counsel in Eviction Proceedings
Presenter/Sponsor: Representative Chynah Tyler and Senator Sal DiDomenico
This bill would provide any low-income tenant facing eviction with a court-appointed attorney for representation. The bill also creates a public task force to create an implementation plan, and delays implementation for two years. Though this will be a costly undertaking, it will save money in the long term as it will prevent people from entering the shelter system.
An Act to Guarantee a Tenant's First Right of Refusal
Presenter/Sponsor: Senator Brendan P. Crighton and Representative Daniel Cullinane
This legislation would provide a tenant or her non-profit designee the right of first refusal to purchase a property of more than five units being offered for sale. This is one of many tools the City of Boston could utilize to stem displacement.
An act relative to the just cause eviction of elderly lessees
Presenter/Sponsor: Representative Adrian Madaro
This proposal would prohibit no-fault eviction of people over 75 years of age. Landlords would be required to provide notice to the local community at the same time the eviction notice is served to the elderly tenant. Eviction would only be permitted for good cause such as failure to pay rent, damage to the property, use of the premises for illegal activities, etc. Rent increases would be limited to 5% per year to prevent landlords from using large rent increases to get around just cause protections. This would apply to all properties with four or more rental units.
An Act Establishing Tuition Free Community College in Massachusetts
Presenter/Sponsor: Representative Chynah Tyler
This legislation replicates Boston’s Tuition-Free Community College program and makes it available statewide. The need for education beyond high school is growing, as nearly two-thirds (65%) of all US jobs will require some form of postsecondary education or training by 2020. The Commonwealth would provide “last dollar” financial resources to eligible MA residents, which would complement the “Boston Bridge,” a partnership between the City and State that allows eligible students who graduate from a two-year community college to continue at a four-year college free of tuition and fees. This would increase opportunity to for residents of the Commonwealth by making college affordable and accessible.
An Act to Lift the Cap on Kids
Presenter/Sponsor: Representative Marjorie Decker
This bill would repeal a policy that denies critical resources to children conceived while, or soon after, a family is receiving benefits. Massachusetts is one of only 17 states that have a Cap on Kids or similar policy.
An Act to Promote Asset Building for Low-Income Residents
Presenter/Sponsor: Senator Sal DiDomenico
This bill would remove the cap on assets for families receiving temporary cash assistance. The current policy disincentivizes families to accumulate even moderate savings and makes it more difficult for them to access resources. Eight other states have enacted similar changes with positive results, spurring upward economic mobility for residents.
An Act Relating to Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces
Presenter/Sponsor: Representative Daniel Hunt
This legislation will require that all state contractors comply with all workplace laws, including health and safety standards, wage laws and civil rights laws before receiving any new contracts. The goal is to protect workers from wage abuse, workplace discrimination, and unsafe working conditions while ensuring a fair public contracting system. In Massachusetts, we know that pay transparency is critical to achieving pay equity.
An Act Improving the Earned Income Credit for Working Families
Presenter/Sponsor: Representative Marjorie Decker and Senator James Eldridge
This seeks to raise the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to 50% to return money directly to low- and moderate-income working families. The EITC is almost universally seen as a great program and it should be increased and marketed so that working families know they are eligible.
An Act to Create Economic Vitality in Boston Neighborhoods
Presenter/Sponsor: Representative Michael Moran
This Home Rule Petition would expand the number of liquor licenses in Boston and target them to neighborhoods that would greatly benefit with an influx of restaurants to drive economic activity. Restaurants are the lifeblood of neighborhood business districts, providing jobs and gathering spaces, and spurring other businesses to locate nearby.
Status: Local Approval received and filed in the House.
An Act Promoting Pay Transparency and Pipeline Advancement
Presenter/Sponsor: Representative Liz Malia
This bill would require all companies with more than 100 employees to report the gender and race of employees holding specific management titles, and require the Office of Labor and Workforce Development to post anonymized data. Further, the Act would establish a fund to provide professional development services to employees who observe a disparity between the overall and their employer’s ratio, in order to help improve their employer’s rating.
An Act to Create a Boston Fire Department Cadet Program
Presenter/Sponsor: Representative Chynah Tyler
This bill would allow Boston to create a pipeline to good jobs in the Boston Fire Department for young people from the city, and help the BFD diversify its ranks with more women and people of color.
Resolve to Evaluate Existing Funding for the Promotion of, and Workforce Development in, Tourism, Arts, and Culture
Presenter/Sponsor: Representative Aaron Michlewitz and Senator Nick Collins
Massachusetts understands the importance of supporting industries that drive growth, create jobs and generate tax revenue for the Commonwealth. Tourism, bolstered by arts and culture, is one of the state’s largest industries. Investment in Tourism, Arts and Culture, used to promote the state, support institutions and build a more resilient workforce in the hospitality and creative industries would yield impressive dividends. This bill would establish a commission to explore ways to raise money for sustained investment in this sector.