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Worthwhile Massachusetts Initiatives

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Warren and her policy team are lapping the field right now:

The centerpiece of my plan is the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, which I introduced for the first time in the Senate last year and reintroduced this week. I’m proud that my bill has the support of two of my Senate colleagues. And I’m proud that an inspiring set of leaders — including Representatives Cedric Richmond of Louisiana, Barbara Lee of California, Gwen Moore of Wisconsin, and Elijah Cummings of Maryland — has introduced the same legislation in the House.

My bill makes historic federal investments to increase housing supply. It invests $500 billion over the next ten years to build, preserve, and rehab units that will be affordable to lower-income families. A big chunk of that investment leverages private dollars so that taxpayers get the most bang for their buck.

By building millions of new units, my plan will reduce the cost of rent for everyone. An independent analysis from Mark Zandi, the Chief Economist at Moody’s Analytics, found that my plan would reduce rental costs by 10% over the next ten years. And because my plan invests in housing construction and rehabilitation, the Moody’s analysis also finds that it would create 1.5 million new jobs.

How would we pay for this new investment? Simple. Currently, an heir of a doesn’t pay a dollar of estate taxes until they inherit a fortune of $22 million or more. I would lower that threshold to $7 million — which is where it was when President George W. Bush left office — and raise the tax rates above that threshold so ultra-millionaires and billionaires pay a larger share. Those changes affect only 14,000 of the wealthiest families each year, but according to the Moody’s analysis, they fully cover the cost of my plan.

Think about that: by asking 14,000 wealthy families a year to pay a bit more, we can reduce rents by 10% for millions of families and create 1.5 million good new jobs.

My bill also makes additional targeted investments in communities that desperately need it. It invests half-a-billion dollars in rural housing programs. It invests $2.5 billion in the Indian Housing Block Grant and the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant to build or rehab 200,000 homes on tribal land. And it invests $4 billion in a new Middle-Class Housing Emergency Fund, which will support the construction of new housing catering to middle-class renters in communities with severe housing supply shortages.

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