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Under current law, homestead preservation districts and reinvestment zones exist to enable municipalities to promote homeownership (particularly for low- and middle-income families) and improve economic and social conditions in disadvantaged communities. Such assistance is available to municipalities with a population of at least 750,000 in a uniform state service region with fewer than 550,000 occupied housing units.
HB 3281 would expand the application of this assistance to municipalities in a uniform state service region with fewer than 800,000 homes. In addition, this bill would perpetuate qualification on the basis of initial qualification for a municipality (continuing application even if the population or the number of occupied housing units changes in a way that would otherwise disqualify a municipality).
This bill infringes on the principle of limited government and the free market by expanding and perpetuating governmental assistance provided through homestead preservation districts and reinvestment zones. Because this would increase state intervention and increase market distortions, we oppose HB 3281.
We do understand that this would simply re-qualify the City of Austin to participate and should not affect anyone else, but we are unpersuaded by this argument because we believe this program should be eliminated altogether and if population growth is one means of that occurring we support letting that happen.