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Published on Friday, March 8, 2013

Mandatory impact fee deferral bill passes out of the House, Senate yet to vote

Despite being strongly opposed by cities and school districts, HB 1652 passed out of the House on Wednesday evening on a 73 -24 vote. The companion in the Senate, SB 5664, is eligible for a full vote in the Senate at any time. A number of Senators have prepared amendments that could be debated on the floor. If you haven’t already done so, it’s not too late to contact your Senator(s) and express your concerns with this unnecessary state mandate.

Please note, for those of you who have already adopted impact fee deferral programs, HB 1652 as it passed the House would require you to defer ALL impact fees, even those for schools. If this is a problem for you, please share that concern with your Senator(s).

Some suggested talking points:

We have a great deal of sympathy for our builders and the challenges they face in this difficult economy, but this bill is a wholly unnecessary mandate and pre-emption of local authority that should not move forward. Here’s why:

  • This bill pre-empts local control, and involves local funding – not state funding. We believe the Legislature should have a very good reason to pre-empt local control and discretion – and we simply don’t believe that is the case with SSB 5664.
  • Cities already have discretion to delay or defer impact fee collection, and more and more are doing that. Other cities have chosen other avenues to try to help builders, including reducing their fees (or keeping them low), reducing permit approval times, streamlining processes for permits and inspections, and more. When you contact your legislators, let them know what steps your city has already taken to try to help builders.
  • There is no data to show that impact fee deferrals drive new housing starts. Let cities work with their local builders to determine the best strategies to kick-start home building.