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Affordable housing bills make it across finish line as legislature ends frenetic session

May 4, 2019, 10:52 am

Two bills aimed at funding affordable housing in Colorado made it to the finish line as the Colorado Legislature wrapped up its session on Friday, May 3.

Dylan Roberts
Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Avon

“I think it’s fair to say this is largest investment in housing by the state of Colorado in a very long time, if ever,” said Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Avon, who sponsored House Bill 1322 – the Expand Supply Affordable Housing Act.

Both HB 1322 and House Bill 1245 are headed to Gov. Jared Polis for his signature. There was some question about HB 1245 and whether its money would be directed toward health care legislation, but in the end it wound up passing and going toward housing.

RealVail.com did a deeper dive into both bills for the Vail Daily late last month.

Here’s a press release from the Colorado Democrats on Friday’s passage of both bills:

Colorado’s Largest Investment in Affordable Housing Goes to Governor’s Desk

(May 3) — A pair of bills that will make large investments in Colorado’s affordable housing crisis are now heading to the Governor’s desk. 

HB19-1245, sponsored by Rep. Mike Weissman, passed by a bipartisan vote of 37-27. This bill would contribute more funding to the Housing Development Grant Fund within the Department of Local Affairs. The funding could then be used to improve, preserve, or expand the supply of affordable housing in Colorado. 

“This bill is a significant and meaningful approach to address the state’s affordable housing crisis,” said Rep. Weissman, D-Aurora.“Housing can strengthen a person’s ability to support a family, maintain a job and live a healthy life. This bill is a calibrated approach that would benefit all of Coloradans – especially our most vulnerable families and individuals.”

Under current law, a business can keep 3.3 percent of sales tax that it collects for administration purposes. With this new bill, vendors can retain up to four percent of the vendor fees up to a $1,000 monthly cap. This minor statutory change will result in roughly $23 million in revenue in the first year and would invest $45-50 million per year afterwards. A third of these funds would be used to provide affordable housing to low income families. 

HB19-1322, sponsored by Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Avon, and Rep Perry Will, R-New Castle, will expand funding for affordable housing statewide. Under this bill, money will come from the State Treasurer from the Unclaimed Property Trust Fund and be deposited into the Housing Development Grant Fund to supplement existing money. 

“I am thrilled this bill has now passed both chambers with bipartisan support. This a responsible way to support affordable housing without raising taxes. It allows local communities to decide what is best for them and get support for important projects from the state,”said Rep. Roberts. “Housing is one of the most important issues across the state and this bill specifically points out our rural communities who need help and ensures the state is a strong partner in the effort to support affordable housing projects.”

Both bills head to Governor’s Polis’ office. 

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