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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: March 13, 2024 01:00 PM
From: Representative Rich Irvin and Rep. Andrew Kuzma, Rep. Kerry A. Benninghoff, Rep. Thomas H. Kutz, Rep. Eric R. Nelson, Rep. Ryan E. Mackenzie, Rep. Abby Major, Rep. Doyle Heffley
To: All House members
Subject: Housing Shortage and Attainability
We know that over the past 4 years, rising housing costs, both rental and purchase, are making it difficult for Pennsylvanians to find appropriate housing for themselves and their families. Our Commonwealth is also facing a lack of housing supply, and the housing stock we have is aging quickly. According to some estimates, Pennsylvania is short 98,000 housing units, and the median new home sale price in Pennsylvania last year was $560,152, which is $130,000 more than the national average. Meanwhile, rent increases have grown so severe that most counties in the Commonwealth have less than 30% of renters paying less than the recommended 30% of their income on housing.
Government regulation has gotten in the way, and local zoning has also contributed to the slowing of housing creation, fueling an ever-worsening shortage.
Housing that is affordable and is readily available supports stable families, promotes employment, weans those living at or below poverty levels off public support by transitioning them to family-supporting jobs, and supports thriving local economies. Businesses continue to highlight that the current labor shortage in Pennsylvania is being exacerbated by a lack of housing stock for workers, making it impossible to fill open positions as workers cannot find adequate housing nearby.
The time has come to address this problem, and to get the government out of the way so that housing needs may be met. Our economy, our families, and our communities depend on it.

Document #1

Description: Description: Bill #1 (Irvin) – Tax Hardship Agreements/RETSL
Allows tax claim bureaus to enter into hardship agreements with homeowners who have fallen behind on their taxes. This will assist with keeping individuals in their homes if they have fallen on economic hardship.

Document #2

Description: Description: Bill #2 (Kuzma) – Municipal Housing Policy Reporting
To better understand Pennsylvania’s housing needs and challenges, it is important to have solid data. This legislation will require a yearly report from municipalities about housing needs, challenges, shortages, and solutions.

Document #3

Description: Description: Bill #3 (Benninghoff) – RTT Revenues to PTRR for Homestead Exclusion
Allocate all RTT revenues, after Keystone Parks and Rec and PHARE transfers, to PTRR for an increase to Homestead Exclusion.

Document #4

Introduced as HB2224

Description: Description: Bill #4 (Kutz) – First Time Homebuyer Savings Account
Allow individuals to create a savings account to save income pre-tax towards the purchase of a home. This type of legislation has been adopted by several other states and has helped individuals get into their first homeownership opportunity.

Document #5

Description: Description:  Bill #5 (E. Nelson) – Low interest loans for homebuilders/municipalities
Modelled after a new Wisconsin program which provides low interest loans for housing developers that would help front the cost of projects with an added focus on improving public infrastructure. The bill will also include an incentive for municipalities to approve and fast track administrative approvals/permits for the building project.

Document #6

Description: Description: Bill #6 (R. Mackenzie) – Blower Door Test – UCC Fix
Allow for a sliding scale based on home square footage size for blower door tests in the UCC to allow for smaller home construction. The blower door test requirements are impossible to meet for homes under 2000 sq ft. This sliding scale would remove a regulatory hurdle that makes it difficult for builders to build smaller homes and creates challenges for families and individuals to purchase new starter homes or new homes to downsize.

Document #7

Description: Description Bill #7 (Major) – Tiny Home adoption of International Residential Building Code App. Q
Pennsylvania has not yet adopted the building codes relating to tiny homes, which can be an additional answer to our housing shortage. Without building code standards, the building and usage of tiny homes remains largely unregulated.

Document #8

Introduced as HR368

Description: Description: Resolution #1 (Irvin) – Resolution directing Auditor General to Audit the Whole Homes Repair Program
The Whole Homes Repair Program has faced some initial issues, and an audit of the program will help us have a better look at the effectiveness of the program, and whether it is worthy of continued state investment.

Document #9

Description: Description: Bill #8 (Heffley) – Skip next UCC adoption/Review of existing codes cost drivers
Builders claim that building code changes over the last year years have contributed to increased costs of building residential homes. This bill would instruct the RAC to skip the next UCC code adoption round, and instead use that time to go into the existing codes and identify cost drivers to building and create a list of alternatives to those (that do not compromise safety). The bill would also require code inspectors to inform builders/etc. about the list of “alternatives” that bring down building cost.