How Vermont's Gubernatorial Hopefuls Plan to Increase Affordable Housing

October 12, 2016

Phil Scott and Sue Minter have made affordability a central part of their gubernatorial campaigns. As Vermont's housing costs continue to rise, both candidates have put forward ideas to increase the number of affordable homes on the market.

The average price of housing units have largely risen across Vermont, according to the state housing authority. In Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle counties, the rate for a 2-bedroom apartment has risen from $1,356 to $1,395 between the 2016 fiscal year and 2017.

Scott, the Republican nominee, said he has aggressive goals for housing that he will accomplish via tax credits and streamlining the regulatory process.

Scott's plan would focus tax credits on developers who buy and renovate a few houses a year, as long as they make the properties energy efficient. Regulations would be changed to make it easier for developers to build new housing in Vermont.

Minter, and the Vermont Democratic Party, characterized Scott's plans as benefiting his corporate donors. Elliot Bent, Minter's communications director, said the plan would cost Vermont over $1 million, while Christina Amestoy, a spokeswoman for the state's Democratic Party, accused Scott of pushing a tax credit without having a way to pay for it.

"The benefit to everyday Vermonters is a lower price on homes," said Ethan Latour, a campaign spokesman for Phil Scott, in an emailed statement on Tuesday. "Under Phil’s plan, developers will spend less time and resources navigating state regulations and local investors will not have the big margins to make up when reselling a home. Currently, these costs are baked into the prices of Vermont homes and contribute to the affordability crisis."

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