The Blueprint: A Great Day of Advocacy
ALSO: Currently Pending Legislation • Reaction to Governor Evers’ State Budget • From NAHB: Leaders Bring a Housing Agenda to Capitol Hill
A Great Day of Advocacy
On March 5, 50 members from across the state traveled to Madison for a day filled with speakers and an opportunity to talk with their elected officials and lobby on behalf of sound public policies to improve housing in Wisconsin. Thank you again to our event sponsor, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago.
Our day was kicked off with a panel discussion featuring the chairs of the housing committees in State Assembly and State Senate: Representatives John Jagler and Senator Devin LeMahieu. A long list of topics which included initial thoughts on the state budget, working across the aisle on legislation this session, and goals for the upcoming session were discussed.
Next up was an issue briefing to inform members of the results of their lobbying efforts last year (all bills were passed and signed into law) as well as hearing statistics that all legislators should know on housing and job creation. Among them, the fact that a $1,000 increase in a home will price out over 4,000 Wisconsin families for getting a home mortgage in 2019.
Wisconsin Department of Revenue Secretary-designee Peter Barca gave the group an overview of the duties that are covered by the Department of Revenue, some thoughts on Governor Evers’ state budget, and took several questions from attendees.
Lastly, members were given a polling update during lunch by Professor Charles Franklin of the Marquette Law School Poll. Franklin’s presentation did a deep dive on the 2018 governor’s race which largely centered about greater number of voters in Dane and Milwaukee County turning out in 2018, a decrease in margin for former Governor Walker in traditionally strong areas (most notably the WOW Counties of suburban Milwaukee) and the conclusion that the general mood of the country and state was more beneficial for democrats than republicans in 2018.
Thank you to all that made the trip to attend Advocacy Day 2019 last week! To see more photos, click here.
Advocacy Day Facts & Figures
A big piece of what members do when they attend Advocacy Day, is to educate elected officials and their staff members on the importance of the housing industry on the Wisconsin economy and to remind them that policy decisions that increase the cost of housing can price families out of housing options.
Two direct asks that members took to their legislative meetings included asking legislators to consider the economic impact the housing industry has on the Wisconsin economy and the good paying jobs that building new homes creates, not only during construction, but thereafter:
The estimated one-year impact of building 1,000 single family homes in Wisconsin is 4,451 and the annual recurring impact is 1,014 jobs.
Members reminded legislators to always keep Wisconsin families in mind when making decisions on legislation and building code matters that effect single family homes in Wisconsin:
For every $1,000 that a new home increases, 4,081 Wisconsin families are priced out from being able to qualify for a new home mortgage and from purchasing a new home.
Please keep these statistics in mind as you meet with state and local elected officials in the future.
First Reaction to Governor Evers’ State Budget
On Thursday, February 28, Governor Tony Evers introduced his first state budget and addressed a joint session of the Wisconsin Legislature.
WBA Supports the Following Pieces:
Establishment of a state tax advantage for first time homebuyer savings accounts starting in 2020:
Allowing an individual or married-joint filer to subtract $5,000 or $10,000 respectively in annual contributions will result in $4.1 million savings in 2020-2021 and boost home sales and as a result, the Wisconsin economy.
Funding for the Department of Safety and Professional Services:
Increasing the credentialing staff and upgrading credentialing systems and customer portals will decrease processing times for initial and renewal licenses, resulting in people getting into the workplace more quickly and increasing customer satisfaction. This provision was planned to be a budget request item of the former DSPS leadership team under the Walker administration.
WBA is Opposed to the Following Pieces:
Changes to Tax Incremental Finance (TIF) Law: If adopted, this measure could limit and stop some developer projects from happening, costing Wisconsinites good paying construction jobs.
Provisions to Allow Municipalities to Exceed Levy Limits: Levy limits have been a valuable tool to keep property taxes down so Wisconsin families can afford to remodel their existing home or purchase a new home.
Increase of Heavy Trucks Registration Fee: This provision to generate additional revenue for transportation projects will likely increase the final cost of a home, leading to pricing families out of housing options.
Language that would return prevailing wage laws to public projects would require infrastructure paid for by the developer and dedicated to a municipality to use prevailing wage when doing these projects.: These types of projects were exempt from prevailing wage laws in the compromise language supported by both business groups (including WBA) and labor unions in 2011. Any changes to prevailing wage laws should include an exemption from prevailing wage laws for work paid for by a developer and dedicated to a municipality.
We will continue to study the state budget once additional papers are released from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau and report back to the membership on additional items to support or oppose.
Currently Pending Legislation
One of the direct asks that members took to the capitol was asking for legislators to sign in as a co-author and support bipartisan legislation to streamline the application process for a one-two family building permit.
LRB 0998 was circulated for cosponsors on February 28, 2019 by Representatives John Jagler (R-Watertown) and Amanda Stuck (D-Appleton) and Senators Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) and Janet Bewely (D-Mason). Additional coauthors were able to sign on to this legislation until the close of business on Friday, March 8, 2019.
LRB 0998 will do the following:
Prohibit a municipality from requiring a building permit applicant for a one-family or two-family dwelling to submit the application in both paper and electronic forms
Allow the applicant to submit a building permit in paper form if required by the municipality using any of the following forms:
A printed copy of the form that the municipality makes available electronically
A printed copy of the form that the DSPS makes available electronically
The form that DSPS makes available to the public in paper form
Allows an applicant to submit one of the above forms even if DSPS has approved a municipality’s use of a form that is different than the standard form prescribed by DSPS
Why are the provisions of LRB 0998 needed?
WBA members have reported that some municipalities were requiring the submission of a building permit using the online system and a paper copy of a different building permit.
Requiring both the paper copy and the online system to apply for a building permit made the process less efficient than before 2015 Act 211 went into effect.
The changes provided in LRB 0998 will allow a more streamlined process for anyone applying for a one-family or two-family building permit which includes both contractors and individuals who may choose to build their own home.
We have heard early reports from the authors of LRB 0998 that several additional members of the legislature contacted their office to sign on to the bill in response to member visits on March 5.
FROM NAHB: Leaders Bring a Housing Agenda to Capitol Hill
NAHB Chairman Greg Ugalde and First Vice Chairman Dean Mon conducted two days of meetings this week with Republican and Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill to urge lawmakers to address growing housing affordability concerns and keep housing in the forefront of the national agenda.
The NAHB Senior Officers reiterated the importance of housing and homeownership to the economy and called on Congress to ease needless regulatory burdens that are contributing to rising housing costs.
Discussions were held over a two-day period with more than two dozen influential lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle, including:
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.)
Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.)
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.)
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.)
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.)
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.)
Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.)
Talks centered on the need to enact policies that would:
Reduce or eliminate unnecessary regulations to make homeownership and rental housing more affordable for teachers, firefighters, police officers and other middle-class families.
Adopt sensible workforce development and immigration policy that will help ease a chronic shortage in the housing industry that is resulting in higher construction costs.
Provide a stable supply of credit for home buyers, home builders and rental housing.
Achieve a long-term reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program that will keep the program fiscally sound and let builders provide safe and affordable housing.