The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies recently released its 3oth annual housing report, The State of the Nation’s Housing 2018. Managing Director Chris Hebert said, “By many metrics, the U.S. housing market in 2018 is on sound footing. But a number of challenges highlighted in the first State of the Nation’s Housing report 30 years ago persist today, and in many respects, the situation has worsened for both the lowest-income Americans and those higher up the income latter.” Long-term challenges that the report has identified include: an increase in cost-burdened households, constraints in the supply of new housing, more expensive land prices and housing construction costs, and decreased rates of homeownership among young adults and black households. See this recorded webcast for a discussion about the implications of the report’s findings.
Know an individual or team that deserves recognition for working in or with state, county, or municipal government? Apply for Route Fifty’s third annual Navigator Awards. Awards are given in five categories that recognize those that successfully implement a great idea that improves public sector services and the communities they serve. Nominations will be reviewed by three measurements: innovation, implementation, and outcomes.
Nominations Due: July 11, 11:59 PM ET
Late last week, a delegation from Davis County, Utah – including County Commissioner and NARC Board Member Bret Millburn from Wasatch Front Regional Council – came to Washington to meet with White House administration staff. The afternoon meeting was a rapid-fire discussion, touching on a wide range of issues that impact Davis County and the region surrounding it. NARC hopes that the meeting developed stronger ties between Davis County and the administration as they work diligently to tackle their largest challenges on both county and regional levels.
In a narrow vote of 213-211, the House passed its version of the Farm Bill (H.R. 2), which is estimated to spend $860 billion over the next 10 years. While Democrats unanimously opposed the bill due to stricter eligibility criteria and work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), eight conservative Freedom Caucus members flipped their positions from last month’s vote to ensure its passage on Thursday. The Senate is expected to vote on its version, which has wide bipartisan support, as early as this week. There are many expected points of contention between the bills, including the extent of SNAP reforms; changes to commodity subsidies; and the differences of approach to conservation programs, especially the elimination of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Conservation Stewardship Program proposed by the House.
Tomorrow, June 26, the House Appropriations Committee is expected to approve the FY 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education funding bill. The bill is likely to be adopted along party lines with essentially the same funding that Congress appropriated last year, which is greater than the amount requested by the administration.
The bill, if adopted into law, would appropriate more than $177 billion in discretionary funds, funding most programs at current levels. Small increases in funding were provided for substance abuse and mental health programs, including those that would address opioid and heroin abuse, health research at the National Institutes of Health, early childhood and Head Start programs, special education, and programs for seniors and veterans.
The committee is likely to recommend that programs like the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) be level funded, and workforce programs – a constant target of funding cuts – be reduced by a small amount, mostly due to the $200 million decrease in funding for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act dislocated worker program.
Earlier this month, the Western Piedmont Council of Government’s (WPCOG) Regional Housing Authority was announced as one of the first seventeen EnVision Center designations around the nation by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). According to HUD, these centers will “offer HUD-assisted families access to support services that can help them achieve self-sufficiency, thereby making scarce federal resources more readily available to a greater number of households currently waiting to receive HUD assistance.” WPCOG is expected to collaborate with federal agencies, state and local governments, non-profits, faith-based organizations, corporations, public housing authorities, and housing finance agencies to help achieve the mission of the regional EnVision Center.
In a bipartisan vote of 396-14, the House passed the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act (H.R. 6) – a piece of legislation that combines dozens of opioid-related bills passed over the last two weeks with base text and provisions that passed through the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The bill tackles many aspects of the opioid crisis, helping advance treatment and recovery initiatives, improving prevention, and authorizing state and local grants for the establishment or operation of public health labs to detect fentanyl and other synthetic opioids. See this bill summary for further detail.
On Thursday in the South Dakota v. Wayfair case, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled that state and local governments can collect sales tax from vendors that do not have a physical presence in their state. In the 5-4 decision, SCOTUS offered three reasons why it ruled on the side of the localities and states: “First, the physical presence rule is not a necessary interpretation of the requirement that a state tax must be ‘applied to an activity with a substantial nexus with the taxing State.’ Second, Quill [v. North Dakota] creates rather than resolves market distortions. And third, Quill [v. North Dakota] imposes the sort of arbitrary, formalistic distinction that the court’s modern Commerce Clause precedents disavow.” The largest state and local government associations have applauded the decision, stating that “for 26 years Congress has failed to act and through the efforts of Justice Anthony Kennedy, the federal government has finally recognized the changing nature of commerce and state efforts to simplify the collection process.” Read more about it from the National League of Cities.
According to Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies Managing Director Chris Herbert, just under half of all renters nationwide in 2018 are “cost burdened,” or pay more than 30 percent of their income on housing. Robert Pinnegar, president and CEO of National Apartment Association, recommends that mayors “prioritize development of apartment housing, plan for diversity within it, and partner with their local apartment associations.” To tackle this growing issue, the City of Baltimore now offers first-time home buyers tax credits to live in particular areas and is creating a $55 million neighborhood investment fund dedicated to affordable housing. Seattle is making $100 million in investments leveraged into $200 million in starts for affordable housing and is looking at rezoning to build density in neighborhoods and making it easier to build on additions to existing properties. Learn more about it in this Route Fifty article.
Washington, DC (June 8, 2018): The National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) recently elected leaders for 2018-2019 and celebrated its 52nd Annual Conference and Exhibition in Orlando, Florida. For over 50 years, NARC has advocated on behalf of regional councils and the benefits regionalism provides for local governments. NARC members work collaboratively in their diverse communities – large and small, urban and rural — to address challenges that are best solved at the regional scale.
Geof Benson, Councilmember of the Town of Beverly Shores, Indiana and Chair of the Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC), was elected to serve as President of the Association. Benson is also a member of the Lake Michigan Marina and Shoreline Development Commission, as well as Executive Director for Dunes Learning Center. His leadership roles in many community and non-profit organizations have included: Save the Dunes, Child Care Consortium, Chicago Wilderness, and Calumet Stewardship Initiative. His executive leadership and professional management experiences span several decades and include governmental, business, and non-profit organizations.
President Geof Benson expressed his deepest thanks for the significant support he received from NARC and its members, stating: “I am both honored and excited to serve as NARC president. Our collective dedication to public service and community improvement helps American lives every day… and NARC helps us learn about new tools and techniques to bring home to our own communities, helping us solve the challenges we encounter in our regions.
“I would like to thank my predecessor, Bob Dallari, for his excellent work and I look forward to working with President-elect Marge Vogt, Senior Vice President Robert Cannon, and Vice President Andrew Gruber to build upon the achievements made over the last year. Additionally, our Board is fortunate to have such a hard-working staff and Executive Directors Council to support us.”
NARC congratulates President-elect Marge Vogt, Councilmember in Olathe, Kansas, and Senior Vice President Robert Cannon, Supervisor of Clinton Township in Michigan, for their successful elections to board leadership. NARC also thanks Immediate Past President Bob Dallari, Commissioner of Seminole County, Florida, for his service to the Association and assistance in the success of NARC’s 52nd Annual Conference and Exhibition. Board members representing NARC districts and at-large seats were also elected.
In addition to its governing board of directors, NARC has an advisory Executive Directors Council comprised of executive directors from regional planning organizations across the country. Wasatch Front Regional Council Executive Director Andrew Gruber succeeds Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission Executive Director William Murdock as Chairman of the Executive Directors Council and Vice President of NARC. NARC Executive and Policy Committee positions were also elected and confirmed.
NARC welcomes returning and newly elected Board members:
President Geof Benson, Town Councilmember, Beverly Shores, IN; President-elect Marge Vogt, Councilmember, Olathe, KS; Sr. Vice President Robert Cannon, Supervisor, Clinton Township, MI; Vice President Andrew Gruber, Wasatch Front Regional Council; Immediate Past President Bob Dallari, Commissioner, Seminole County, FL; Region I Director Steve Cassano, State Senator, CT; Region II Director Matthew Holt, Freeholder, Hunterdon County, NJ; Region III Director Kenyan McDuffie, Councilmember, District of Columbia; Region IV Director Jennifer Robinson, Council Member, Town of Cary, NC; Region V Director, Bryan Caletka, Councilmember, Davie, FL; Region VI Director Justin Kiel, Council President, Town of La Crosse, IN; Region VII Director Greg Terry, Judge/Executive, Carlisle, KY; Region VIII Director Karen Keith, Commissioner, Tulsa County, OK; Region IX Director Chris Barnett, Vice Chairperson, Supervisor, Orion Township; Region X Director Joy Fuchs, Commissioner, Washington County, TX; Region XI Director Carol Vinton, Supervisor, Mills County, IA; Region XII Director Garret Nancolas, Mayor, Caldwell, ID; Region XIII Director P. Bret Milburn, Commissioner, Davis County, UT; Region XIV Director Fred Strong, Councilmember, Paso Robles, CA; Region XV Director Brad Hill, Councilmember, Yakima City, WA; At-Large Director Lee Constantine, Commissioner, Seminole County, FL; At-Large Director Julie Pierce, Council Member, Clayton, CA; At-Large Director Daniel Troy, Commissioner, Lake County, OH; At-Large Director Bill Zoslocki, Councilmember, Modesto, CA; First Vice Chair Kathleen Lomako, Southeast Michigan Council of Governments; Immediate Past Chair William Murdock, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission; National League of Cities Appointee Pam O’Connor, Councilmember, Santa Monica, CA; National Association of Counties Appointee James D. Healy, Board Member, DuPage County, IL; and Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations Appointee DeLania Hardy, AMPO Executive Director.
NARC welcomes returning and newly elected Executive Directors Council members:
Chair Andrew Gruber, Wasatch Front Regional Council; First Vice Chair Kathleen Lomako, Southeast Michigan Council of Governments; Second Vice Chair Doug Hooker, Atlanta Regional Commission; Immediate Past Chair William Murdock, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission; Executive Committee Officer Brian Martin, Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission; Executive Committee Officer Ty Warner, Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission; Region I Representative Tim Brennan, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission; Region I Representative Lyle Wray, Capitol Region Council of Governments; Region II Representative Jim Hassinger, Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission; Region II Representative Barry Seymour, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission; Region III Representative Chuck Bean, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments; Region IV Representative Anthony W. Starr, Western Piedmont Council of Governments; Region V Representative Gregory Stuart, Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization; Region VI Representative Mark Policinski, Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments; Region VI Representative Ty Warner, Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission; Region VII Representative Sherry McDavid, FIVCO Area Development District; Region VII Representative Jennifer Beck Walker, Purchase Area Development District; Region VIII Representative Rich Brierre, Indian Nations Council of Governments; Region IX Representative Grace Gallucci, Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency; Region IX Representative Jim Kinnick, Eastgate Regional Council of Governments; Region X Representative Jim Reed, Central Texas Council of Governments; Region X Representative Tom Wilkinson, Jr., Brazos Valley Council of Governments; Region XI Representative Todd Ashby, Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization; Region XI Representative David Warm, Mid-America Regional Council; Region XII Representative Matt Stoll, Community Planning Association; Region XII Representative Greg Youell, Metropolitan Area Planning Agency; Region XIII Representative Miriam Gillow-Wiles, Southwest Colorado Council of Governments; Region XIV Representative Rosa De Leon Park, Stanislaus Council of Governments; Region XIV Representative Hasan Ikhrata, Southern California Association of Governments; Region XV Representative Fred Abousleman, Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments; Region XV Representative Bill Fashing, Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments; At-Large Representative David Cleveland, East Texas Council of Governments; At-Large Representative Sallie Fahey, Tippecanoe County Area Plan Commission; At-Large Representative; Brian Martin, Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission; At-Large Representative Diane Rath, Alamo Area Council of Governments; At-Large Representative Jiten Shah, Green River Area Development District; At-Large Representative James Turnwald, Michiana Area Council of Governments; At-Large Representative Betty Voights, Capital Area Council of Governments; and At-Large Representative Chuck Wemple, Houston-Galveston Area Council.
NARC also congratulates new and returning Policy Committee members:
Transportation Policy Committee Co-Chair Fred Strong, Councilmember, Paso Robles, CA; Transportation Policy Committee Co-Chair (Urban) Gregory Stuart, Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization; Transportation Policy Committee Co-Chair (Rural) Miriam Gillow-Wiles, Southwest Colorado Council of Governments; Transportation Policy Committee Co-Chair Alternate Lyle Wray, Capitol Region Council of Governments; Public Safety & Emergency Management Policy Committee Co-Chair Byron Ryder, Judge, Leon County, TX; Public Safety & Emergency Management Policy Committee Co-Chair Diane Rath, Alamo Area Council of Governments; Environment & Energy Policy Committee Co-Chair Pam O’Connor, Councilmember, Santa Monica, CA; Environment & Energy Policy Committee Co-Chair Rosa De León Park, Stanislaus Council of Governments; Economic & Community Development Policy Committee Chair Betty Voights, Capital Area Council of Governments.