Everyone should be able to find a home that’s affordable. Housing affordability is critical to our state’s growth and prosperity. Annapolis must act to make the American dream a more affordable reality.
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Dear Governor-Elect O’Malley:
Congratulations on your election to become Maryland’s Governor. I support your strong public commitment during the campaign to make housing affordability a priority.
As you know, there is a growing gap between median home prices in Maryland and median household incomes. The Maryland Association of REALTORS® reported in September that first-time homebuyers in our state had only 44.5% of the income necessary to purchase the typical starter home. Like you, I also am concerned that community workers such as police, fire fighters, teachers, nurses and others cannot afford a home near their workplace. Additional taxes on real estate and related transactions only compound this affordability problem.
I urge you to consider the following solutions to this statewide challenge in the upcoming session of the General Assembly:
Tax Breaks for Individuals and Employers. A state income-tax credit for first-time homebuyers up to $5,000 and a State Employer-Assisted Housing Tax Credit for employers who provide or match employee down payments and/or rental security deposits.
Planning & Coordination Measures. Ensure better coordination among state agencies overseeing transportation, development and economic planning to help people live in communities where they work. Better coordination also can help prevent a net loss of affordable housing opportunities through improper infrastructure planning.
Housing Affordability Programs. Support the new Workforce Housing Grant Fund to increase the production of rental and ownership choices for workforce households. Increase the current limit on the Community Investment Tax Credit Program and other measures to increase affordable housing.
With your leadership, we can realistically approach this issue to make housing more affordable and ensure that we are prepared for future growth in this state.