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2017 Legislative & Policy Priorities

Community Revitalization / Economic Development:

State Historic Tax Credit

Provide multi-year funding for the State Historic Preservation investment Tax Credit, a proven and effective incentive for repurposing vacant and underutilized historic structures in transit-rich existing centers of development and which often involve brownfield remediation, neighborhood revitalization and an alternative to environmentally harmful development on farmland and forestland.

S-136 – An Act to Repeal the State Historic Tax Credit sunset provision (Support)
View testimony

H-5910 – An Act that would recapitalize the State Historic Tax Credit program, the highlights of which include: (Support)

• No per project caps, but projects seeking credits of greater than $15 million must get approval from House and Senate
• Reduced processing fee of .25% of QRE’s, a major reduction from the current processing fee of 3% of QRE’s
• Authorizing the state to award $150 million in additional credits over a 4-year period, plus what is in the HTC fund
• Creation by Division of Taxation of process for reporting assignment, transfer or conveyance of tax credits
• 100% redemption for value of tax credit

View written testimony

S-134 – An Act to Extend the time period for paying the processing fees in connection with the State Historic Tax Credit (Support)

This legislation would provide more time – approximately an extra two months – than is currently allowed to pay the HTC processing fee for those enrolled in the program.

Municipal Infrastructure Grant Program

Enact a competitive grant program for municipalities similar to MassWorks in Massachusetts that would support smart growth and green infrastructure investments in our already developed urban, town and village centers where investment can be maximized to incent private development for public benefit.

H-5893 / S-0443 (Support)

View testimony

Housing:

Capital Financing for Affordable Housing

H-5565 An Act relating to Housing Resources (Support)
Grow Smart RI supports S317/H5565, which would provide $5 million in capital financing for affordable housing in the FY18 budget. Since 2006, Rhode Islanders have supported Bond investments in affordable housing that have leveraged $400 million and supported the development of more than 2,000 affordable homes for low- and moderate-income Rhode Islanders. With an actual line-item investment in our state budget, we hope to become more competitive with our neighboring states, which invest $99.72 of state government dollars per capita (Massachusetts) and $76.98 per capita (Connecticut) compared to our current per capita investment of $8.46. Thoughtful and deliberate investment in affordable housing development has the ability to positively impact family stability, neighborhood and community revitalization, and the State’s overall economy.

View sign-on letter

Transportation:

Mass Transit
Prioritize development of a comprehensive vision and transit master plan (bus, rail, ferry, bicycle and pedestrian, car-share, bike-share, institutional shuttle services, etc.) to optimize Rhode Island’s investments in transit and to get more residents and visitors where they need to go when they need to get there, quickly and efficiently. This initiative is now reflected as Task 6.1 in Rhode Island’s draft Unified Transportation Work Program for FY2018. (Support)

State Employee Transit Pass
Emulate RIPTA’s popular transit pass program for private sector employees (EcoPass) by providing a state employee transit pass program for the state’s 14,500 employees (as called for in Rhode Island’s State Employee Transportation Guide Plan and related 2008 law – RIGL 36-6-21.1). (Support)

Ag/Forestry/Food Systems/Environment:

LASA
 Maintain and strengthen the Local Agriculture and Seafood Act (LASA) technical assistance grants that have proven effective in strengthening Rhode Island’s food system, economy and public health.  Do so by supporting the Governor’s proposed $200,000 line item appropriation for LASA in the FY2018 State Budget.

Renewable Energy
 H-6062 would make renewable energy facilities a permitted accessory use for all farmland of at least 15 contiguous acres.  We support the development of renewable energy on farms and forests, provided it does not remove prime farmland out of production or further fragment forests.
H-6062 / S-0703 (Oppose)

View written testimony
View Projo Editorial – 6/27/17

Subdivision of Land
This act would shorten the time periods related to certifications, decision-making and recordings of decisions for major land development and major subdivision master and preliminary plans, and would further provide a fifty percent (50%) reimbursement of an applicant’s fee in the event a planning board or zoning board of review fails to timely and properly record and post its decisions.
H-5475 / S-481 (Oppose)

Towns and Cities Zoning Ordinance (notice)
Requires municipalities to provide notice to owners and holders of conservation and preservation restrictions, whose property is located in an area proposed for a zoning ordinance amendment that includes changes to dimensional requirements. We believe the proposed bill would add an unnecessary, burdensome, and expensive requirement to cities and towns. Any party that wishes to be informed of proposed zoning amendments can use the existing public notice registry.
H-5573 (Oppose)