MADISON, Wis. / Press Release / -- The Wisconsin State Assembly met [Tuesday] to address Wisconsin’s severe housing shortage by passing the “Fixing Foundations” package, including a proposal introduced by State Rep. Dave Armstrong (R-Rice Lake) to allow municipalities to establish local housing investment fund programs to encourage the development of workforce housing.
“According to a 2019 report, Falling Behind: Addressing Wisconsin’s Workforce Housing Shortage, new residential construction in Wisconsin is considerably behind where it was before the Great Recession, with the result that construction has been unable to keep up with population growth,” Representative Armstrong said. “With relatively fewer housing units available, home prices and rents are going up, and many families are being priced out of the market and are looking elsewhere. This not only hurts local employers, who are desperate for workers, but it hurts the wider community, too. I constantly work on this issue as Barron County’s economic development director, but this is a statewide problem, and I am happy to have had the opportunity to work on and vote for legislation that attempts to address the housing shortage.”
The “Fixing Foundations” package attacks the problem from a number of angles, including a “shovel-ready” workforce housing program, a sales tax exemption for building materials used for workforce housing, a workforce housing rehabilitation loan program, and workforce housing regulatory reform. The package also includes Assembly Bill 609, the bipartisan proposal Representative Armstrong introduced that allows municipalities to establish local housing investment funds, self-sustaining sources of revenue to be used to encourage the development of affordable workforce housing. The package will now go to the Senate for further consideration.
In addition to taking up the “Fixing Foundations” package, the Assembly honored first responders from around the state, in recognition of October 28, 2021, as First Responders Appreciation Day in Wisconsin.