Community Development Network of Maryland

 

General Assembly Session ReportApril 15, 2015
CDN Members and Friends:
  
Thank you for your calls and emails regarding community development legislation and budgets during the General Assembly this year. They really made a difference!

This issue of our e-newsletter provides the details on what happened during the General Assembly to CDN's priorities, and other community development related legislation.

 

Great News!  New Nonprofit Assistance Fund passed the General Assembly!

Hidden in the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) budget
is $600,000 for a Nonprofit Assistance Fund. This is a new fund CDN requested from DHCD. Further details will be released soon, but essentially this new Fund:

  • Provides operating dollars to accepted applicants. Eligible applicants have to be existing nonprofits in the community development field. These include nonprofits who provide housing, rehab vacant housing, advocate for community development in their neighborhoods, enhance main street corridors, and more.  
  • Part of the dollars must be used for building the capacity of the organization.

Further details are being developed and will be announced once the applications are available.

 

CDN requested this funding because operating dollars are the hardest to fundraise!  We thank DHCD for adding our request into the budget, and to the General Assembly for keeping it there! 

 

(we never mentioned it to our members because we did not want to bring attention to it....we had to keep it under the radar so it would not be cut!)

The Good News: Community Development Capital Budgets remain level funded or increased funding for FY2016

CDN urged level funding from FY 2015 for the robust Community Development programs at DHCD. We've written several times about this. Thanks for everyone's calls and emails!

 

Here are the final numbers:

 

Community Legacy.$6 million (level funding)

 

Strategic Demolition and Smart Growth Impact Fund. $7.5 million (level funding - this also was to be significantly cut, but thanks to your calls and emails, the Delegates and Senators heard how important this fund is and added dollars)

 

Neighborhood BusinessWorks. $4.55 million, slightly higher than last year

 

Baltimore Regional Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative (BRNI). $3 million in capital funding, $750,000 in operating. Way more than we requested. (was going to be significantly cut but your efforts worked to make sure the funding is there!)

 

Rental Housing Works.  $20 million ($5 million below last year - but this would have been cut to $10 million). Your calls and emails really made a difference in getting this reinstated!


 

Thanks Everyone! CDN was successful in our requests because of the power of our members!

More Good News: CDN and partners kill 2 bills which would have rolled back fair housing work done last year.       

                   

Early in the General Assembly session, HB33 and SB58 were introduced, and died thanks to the efforts of CDN, DHCD and the Maryland Affordable Housing Coalition (MAHC).

 

HB33 would have reversed the work we did last year to eliminate the local resolution requirements for affordable housing projects with financing from DHCD, including federal low income housing tax credits. It was voted down by the subcommittee in the Environment and Transportation Committee. 

 

SB58 would have required DHCD to notify the delegates and senators in a particular district when an application for financing or credits had been submitted. While we are not opposed to Senators and Delegates knowing about what's going on in their district, we felt this unfairly pointed out affordable rental housing, since no other program or agency has such notice requirements. The Senator who introduced the bill withdrew it after conversations with our coalition.

 

Not so Good News CDN's Legislative Priorities stalled, but will be back    

                

Expansion of CITC program, no tax credit legislation considered this year:

One of CDN's policy priorities was to expand the Community Investment Tax Credit (CITC) program from $1.75 million to $3 million in tax credits. We thank Delegate Hixson and Senator King for sponsoring HB843 and SB494 which would have done that. 

 

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.  

 

This year, given the budget environment, no tax credit bills were considered. There were about 30 tax credit bills, including ours, that received a hearing, but no vote. CDN is still determining whether we go for this next year.  

 

The CITC program is still in existence with the original $1.75 million.

 

 

Limited Liability Companies Transparency died in committee:

Another of CDN's policy priorites would have made Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) more transparent. HB351 (Delegate Lafferty) required 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 delapitated 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 Sub-committee of the Economic Matters Committee considered this legislation and voted it down for several reasons. We will be back next year with a bill that will answer the concerns and questions the sub-committee had, and are confident in success next year. The legislation will likely involve changes to the resident agent including what is a resident agent and his/her responsibilities.

 

 

Homeowner's Insurance of Last Resort Notice sent to summer study:

The last of CDN's policy priorities would have enabled homeowners to know about the insurance of last resort, the JIA. HB647(Delegate Lafferty) required 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. Amendments were drafted to clarify the notification is for complete denial, not partial denial of coverage, and include brokers as well as insurance agents. Another amendment was to include all insurers, not just private insurers.

 

This legislation was sent to summer study because there were a series of bills about insurance companies and notice, and so ours is included in that larger conversation. 

  
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
  

 

 

Post Legislative Session 

Happy Hour

 

 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

 

Barracudas

 

1230 E. Fort Avenue

Baltimore, MD 21230

(easily accessible off of 95N)

 

4:30-7pm

 

Come and celebrate with us!

 

 

 

 

Does your organization get funding from Community Legacy, Strategic Demolition and Smart Growth Investment Fund, BRNI or Rental Housing Works? Do you know of a business in a mainstreet that gets Neighborhood BusinessWorks funding?

 

We'd like to highlight these important projects during Community Development Week October 5-12 - and before (leading up to CD week).

 

Please send over the information on this important projects to Odette. We'll follow up.

 

 

Other legislation CDN supported during the General Assembly:

 

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.

This legislation was passed by both houses.

HB1035/SB439 and its amendments reformed the tax sale laws for Baltimore City to make it harder for homeowners to loose their homes to tax sale for property lien or unpaid water bills below $750.  

This legislation passed both the Senate and the House.

SB196/HB1089 would have created the Rural Economic Development Program designed to spark economic development in the rural areas. The original bill provided tax credits 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 had a $5 million fund for infrastructure.

Because all tax credit bills were not considered this year, this legislation did not receive a vote.
  
SB356/HB497 makes limited liability companies owned by nonprofits who develop affordable housing to be eligible for payments in lieu of taxes. This is important to many of our non-profit members who create LLCs for their affordable housing projects. HB497 passed both houses.

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

 

This bill was voted down by the Environment and Transportation Committee.

CALL FOR PRESENTERS!

 


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 purpose is to strengthen, promote, and advocate for the community development industry in Maryland.


 

Find out more on our website here.