Community Development Network of Maryland

 

Legislative UpdateMarch 3, 2015
CDN Members and Friends:
  
In this issue of our e-newsletter, we outline the bills CDN initiated, and the status of each bill in the General Assembly this year. We also outline the actions needed to get these pieces of legislation passed.  We are very busy in Annapolis this year!

Please review the full agenda on our website here. CDN determines our Policy Agenda through our various regional meetings and conversations with our Policy Committee. We even received feedback during our Annual Meeting.  

The Policy Committee meets every other Friday to review the status of CDN priorities, and determine which other pieces of legislation CDN will support.

 

CDN seeks to expand the Community Investment Tax Credit program            

                   

HB843  (Delegate Hixson) and SB494 (Senator King) expand the CITC program from $1.75 million in tax credits to $3 million. In FY 2014, there were $3.9 million in applications for the CITC program, so there is definitely demand. CITC is administered by DHCD, and enables eligilble nonprofits to apply for these credits. They are then able to give them to their donors as an incentive for giving. Anyone giving $500 or more in a donation can get of that back in a state tax credit. The first hearing in the Senate took place on 2/25 and went well. The next one is 3/13 on the House side.  

 

ACTION: Please contact your legislators on each committee - this bill needs to pass out of committee by March 17!  The members of the House Ways and Means Committee and their contact information can be found here. The members of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee and contact information can be found here. If your organization receives these tax credits, emphasize the importance of the program for your organization and for the people you serve.

 

CDN seeks more transparency for Limited Liability Companies 

 

HB351 (Delegate Lafferty) requires that new LLCs add a company representatives name and address on the organizing documents. The company representative must be a live person (employee or manager) of the company. The issue is that there are several occasions where communities or individuals contact LLCs to address a delapidated property, or even to get paid (in the case of businesses owned by LLCs), and yet there is no way to find the actual owner of the LLC to resolve these issues. The hearing on this bill was 2/18. Negotiations are underway to develop a bill that will pass and be effective. 

 

ACTION: Urge your representatives on the House Economic Matters Committee to pass this legislation, even if amended. It has to pass out of committee by March 17! Let them know any experiences you have had with LLC owned properties or businesses. Members of the Economic Matters Committee and their contact info can be found here.

 

CDN promotes homeowners and business insurance of last resort                
 

HB647 (Delegate Lafferty) requires insurance companies who deny, cancel or non-renew a homeowner or business to notify them of the Joint Insurance Association (JIA), who can provide the insurance. At the moment, insurance companies are not required to notify clients they deny about the opportunity for insurance of last resort from the JIA. The hearing was 2/26. Amendments are being drafted to clarify the notification is for complete denial, not partial denial of coverage, and include brokers as well as insurance agents. Another amendment is to include all insurers, not just private insurers.

 

ACTION: Please contact your legislators on the House Economic Matters Committee and urge them to pass HB647 as amended! This bill needs to be voted out of committee by March 17! Here are the members of the House Economic Matters Committee and their contact info.

 

CDN advocates for all community development capital dollars - capital budget hearings are March 3rd and 4th!

CDN urges level funding from FY 2015 for the robust Community Development programs at DHCD: 

  • Community Legacy. CDN urges level funding for FY 2016 at $6 million.  While this program receives over $20 million in applications each year necessitating more funding, given the budget realities, CDN requests level funding. This year's budget keeps Community Legacy at level funding.
  • Strategic Demolition and Smart Growth Impact Fund. This year's budget reduced this funding from $7.5 million to $5 million. CDN urges the funds be put back to $7.5 million.
  • Neighborhood BusinessWorks. FY 2015 budget was $4.2 million. This fund was increased slightly to $4.55 million, we urge support of this funding.
  • Baltimore Regional Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative (BRNI). CDN supports level funding at $3 million. This year's budget reduced the capital expenditures by $570,000.  These should be added back in to continue the important impact the program has had in the past few years.
  • CDN supports the Maryland Affordable Housing Coalition's request for $25 million for the Rental Housing Works program and full funding for other DHCD rental housing programs.

ACTION:  Urge the Capital Budget Sub-Committees on the House and Senate sides to ensure continued funding of Community Legacy and Neighborhood Business Works. Ask them to increase Strategic Demolition, BRNI and Rental Housing Works! The members of the Capital Budget SubCommittee in the House and their contact information are here. Here are the members of the Capital Sub Committee in the Senate with contact information. Hearings are March 3rd and 4th and decisions will be made the following week!


 

Additional budget requests include:

  • Current transportation projects in the pipeline should move forward. The importance of transit and transportation to community development cannot be understated. We also favor sharing the Highway User Revenues with the rural areas as proposed by the Rural Maryland Council.
  • CDN supports the Rural Maryland Council's request for $6 million for the Rural Maryland Prosperity Investment Fund designed to support rural nonprofits who work in community development, supporting entrepreneurship, health care, regional planning and more. 
Other CDN News:
    
--Save The Date:  October 5-12 Maryland Community Development Week!

--Save The Date:  November 6, 2014 for CDN's Annual Meeting at the Federal Reserve in Baltimore.
  
--Check out the CDN website for updates on meetings, the member spotlight, and new jobs have been posted on the Job Board.  www.communitydevelopmentmd.org

As always, please let me know if you have questions or thoughts on any of the items in this e-newsletter.  We want to hear from you!  
  
Thanks!
  

Odette Ramos
Executive Director
Community Development Network of Maryland
  

 

 

SAVE THE DATE

 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

 

Legislative Victories 

Happy Hour

 

Stay tuned for the details!

 

 

 

 

 

Check out our Op-Ed about the importance of community development in Maryland and the small state investments in our industry!

 

Click here for the Op-Ed in the Baltimore Sun today

 

 

 

Other legislation CDN supports:
  
SB196/HB1089 creates the Rural Economic Development Program designed to spark economic development in the rural areas. The original bill talks about the tax credits being available for businesses with 20 or more employees. Amendments request this to be lowered to 5-10 employees in areas 33% below poverty, and to apply the tax credits to rehabilitation, not just new construction. The bill also has a $5 million fund for infrastructure. 
  
SB356/HB497 makes limited liability companies who own/develop affordable housing to be exempt from property taxes. This is important to many of our non-profit members who create LLCs for their affordable housing projects.

HB546 creates an oversight and planning board for the Maryland Transit Administration. CDN thinks this is important to ensure accountability 

 

HB182 expands the eligibility of individuals and families who can apply for mortgage loans through the Community Development Administration (through DHCD). Currently the loans are available for low-income families.This legislation would allow those families who have increased their incomes to refinance their loans. 

About CDN 

 

The Community Development Network of Maryland is a statewide member organization made up of over 150 member organizations across the state.  CDN is the voice for Maryland's community development industry, particularly the critically important nonprofit, small developer and community based organization members of that industry. Our sole purpose is to strengthen, promote, and advocate for the community development industry in Maryland.


 

Find out more on our website here.