CT 169 Strong calls upon Senators to oppose SB-998 which establishes “Fair Share” development mandates for our towns. These goals are a first step to a long and painful path of embarrassing towns for their perceived inability to meet what will surely be arbitrary affordable housing objectives. The bill was brought forward very late on Friday night and voted on in the very early hours of Saturday members, with some members complaining they were “hoodwinked.”
There are many questions about the process and many voters are feeling misled after it was announced Friday morning that Fair Share was removed from the omnibus housing bill but snuck in as an amendment to an unrelated bill, SB-998, “An Act Establishing a Tax Abatement for Certain Conservation Easements.” which it is buried in line 711. State residents and voters deserve better.
Proper housing strategy must be accomplished with more care, planning and thought. Simply shaming towns is not conducive to a healthy political or social environment. A critical way forward is the engagement of community and town leaders. Also, for example, the development of tax credits and state bonding for affordable housing. Recognizing that the state’s prior grants to the largest cities in Connecticut for affordable housing has had the unintended consequence of concentrating poverty in those very cities, expanding affordable housing grants to other municipalities and providing tax credits for those willing to allow affordable units statewide would be a welcome development.
SB-998 offers no solution for anyone, and is simply a course of making all equally unsatisfied.