The 80th session of the Texas legislature will be gaveled to a close sometime tonight. There is always a sense of relief among the participants, both the elected members and the lobbyists when a session finally ends.
Over the course of the coming weeks I will write about the fate of a number of housing initiatives considered by the Legislature over the past five months. Here is a brief summary of some highlights.
- The Legislature provided a significant increase in general revenue funding for the Texas housing trust fund but failed to adopt a dedicated funding source. Despite the increase in funding appropriation levels, the funds are not yet half of what the Texas housing community believes they should be.
- The Legislature rejected a number of proposals that would have prescribed the use of the huge supplemental appropriations the state is receiving for housing and weatherization. Fortunately, unlike unemployment insurance, politics did not intrude to the point that caused the state to reject these federal funds.
- The Texas Bootstrap owner builder home loan program, set to expire after 10 years, was re-authorized for another 10 years and a number of important reforms enacted.
- A comprehensive restructuring of the state’s housing programs for small cities and rural communities failed at the last minute due to opposition from Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s staff.
- As I write this, in the waning hours of the session, it is still unclear whether the Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation (TSAHC) will survive the sunset review process.