Michigan’s Governor and Top Legislative Leaders Talk Housing
HOUSE MINORITY LEADER CHRISTINE GREIG No family should be priced out of their home due to skyrocketing rent or housing prices. It is critical we respect the ability of local governments to know how best to address the issue for their own residents. In 2017, more than 63,025 individuals experienced homelessness in the state of Michigan. The lack of support for affordable housing — identified as paying less than 30 percent of the household income — demands a change in action. State government can assist by passing laws to allow cities to create rent controls on housing units, and could consider creating tax credits to help working families subsidize their rents. Ultimately, however, the solution must be crafted by a coalition of community members, local officials and state government leaders to ensure its success.
SENATE MINORITY LEADER JIM ANANICH The state government should establish streamlined, helpful processes that keep Michiganders safe but are not overly burdensome, costly or hinder the daily operations of Michigan’s businesses. With that in mind, the current system has only been in place since March 2018, so adequate time should be given to allow the system the chance to work. Then, we can and should evaluate the results to determine if changes should be made.
HOUSE SPEAKER LEE CHATFIELD I voted in favor of HB 5376 last year to ensure local experts have the ability to share their knowledge of history and insight on the issues before major decisions are made that will shape the industry going forward. That was recently a long-standing practice, and I think it makes sense to take in that expertise and listen to the people who know the most about how the changes in the code would impact our local communities and the availability of housing in our state. These code changes can affect a wide variety of people with an equally wide variety of viewpoints and experiences. State bureaucrats benefited from that counsel for years, and I believe it’s best for the people we serve if they have access to it going forward, as well.
HOUSE MINORITY LEADER CHRISTINE GREIG I would be open to discussions with my colleagues, industry representatives and stakeholders to consider alternative solutions for restructuring this commission. It is important the process put in place effectively balances the concerns of all parties involved to make decisions that are beneficial for the safety and wellbeing of Michigan’s working families and our state economy.
SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MIKE SHIRKEY I would be open to a discussion about how the Senate can help improve the process.
GOVERNOR GRETCHEN WHITMER I’ve made it clear that anyone who wants a seat at the table will have a seat, including businesses and experts in their field, when decisions are made. We need to take a good look at all of the policies that have been implemented over the last few decades to ensure that we are setting our state up for success now and in the future. My primary objective is keeping people safe and creating an environment where everyone has an opportunity to succeed. I’m willing to work with anyone who wants to solve problems and get things done.
Question

A national association of home builders study revealed that more than 25% of the cost of a new home can be attributed to government regulation. Many of these costs stem from new code requirements that often get pushed by manufacturers who see an opportunity to mandate the use of their products. Michigan changed its law to allow for the Residential code to be updated every three or every six years as needed. Michigan amends the model code so that our building requirements meet the unique needs of our state. The Snyder Administration modified this latter code development process, eliminating a broad-based, balanced advisory panel of industry experts to review and recommend final Michigan code requirements and replacing these committees with only two people. Do you support restoring this commission (or some version thereof)? Why or why not?

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