STATE REP RACE Q&A: Meuse, Prinzivalli & Robertson Talk HOUSING PRICES

WILMINGTON, MA — In recent sit-down interviews at Wilmington Community Television’s studios, the three candidates running in the 19th Middlesex State Representative Race were asked what they will do to help with the “unaffordable” home prices in the district.

“The economy is a big part of that. Currently, the economy is up and it’s more of a seller’s market than buyer’s market,” answered Pina Prinzivalli (R-Tewksbury). ” I believe affordable housing also plays a small role in this. Affordable housing status has an expiration date — a renter’s expiration date is 30 years and a buyer’s is 5 years. Once the affordable housing status expires, the property values go up, which has a domino effect in regards to all the homes around it. On the state level, lowering the property taxes would help.”

“On the macro level, we – as a state – need to promote housing development in Boston that’s sensible and doesn’t compound the traffic issues they’re having… With Amazon’s, GE’s, and other Fortune 500 companies looking towards Boston, we need to get ahead of the curve and start developing around Cambridge, Somerville, etc. And the state has the power to look at and redeem large state properties, which – in turn – will help alleviate housing pressures further up out there,” responded Dave Robertson (D-Tewksbury). “On the micro level… we’re going to be hitting our 40B cutoffs at the next census, more than likely. We’re going to fall below, and that puts developers at an advantage when developing properties to meet their affordable housing. As a State Representative, we would work with towns and developers to find a way that would not impact neighborhoods… I’d like us to resurrect and fund a program where the state, using federal money, could loan money to towns, the town could loan the money to a low-income family, that low-income family could purchase or renovate a house, and then that house would forever be on the public affordable housing rolls through a deed rider.”

“We need discussions with the developers and the townspeople to decide what we want for our communities. The state has a housing choice initiative, but it is mainly for 40B housing. The state needs to look beyond 40B to figure out what can be done to get regular housing that is affordable for the average person to be able to stay in our communities,” said Patricia Meuse (I-Tewksbury). “The second consequence of the high cost of housing is that it’s no longer affordable to live in the district. When prices of the houses go up, it also drives the assessment of the houses up. Then the taxes on the houses go up. And I don’t know how people on fixed incomes, who bought their houses in the 50’s, can afford the taxes. I would look to increase the senior circuit breaker and also raise the qualifying income for that circuit breaker.”

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