Speaking of socialism and housing, longtime tax increment financing advocate and consultant Tobin Morris told the Interim Workforce Housing Needs Committee last month that the biggest impediment to housing development in South Dakota is infrastructure:
Hmm… so the biggest thing the interim committee could do to encourage the building of more houses in South Dakota would be to endorse President Biden’s infrastructure plan and tell our Congressional delegation to support billions of dollars in new federal investment in roads, water pipes, and other crucial residential infrastructure, right?
Except—oh, darn!—Republicans balked at investing in housing and pushed the President’s affordable housing plans out of the compromise deal announced last month:
Missouri Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver praised the president for finding consensus, but he also criticized the absence of housing provisions.
“While I am pleased President Biden has been able to bridge the divide between parties and find a bipartisan infrastructure deal, the failure to include funding for affordable housing is a bipartisan disservice to the American people,” Cleaver said in a statement Thursday evening.
…Biden’s original $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal included more than $200 million for affordable housing, a proposal Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said could lead to thousands of new homes in Kansas City.
…Biden announced his support for a compromise Thursday that would spend $973 billion over five years and $1.2 trillion over eight years if extended, roughly half his initial proposal. The housing provisions championed by Cleaver and Lucas were among the items dropped from the bipartisan plan.
The Senate plan would steer the bulk of the money to roads, bridges and other projects that Republicans regard as fitting the more traditional definition of infrastructure [Bryan Lowry, “Cleaver Laments Lack of Money for Affordable Housing in Biden’s Infrastructure Deal,” Kansas City Star, 2021.06.25].
Affordable housing depends on affordable infrastructure. President Biden is willing to pay for the infrastructure that a longtime Republican insider just told the Legislature is the biggest obstacle to building more housing for our workers. But South Dakota’s Republicans can’t see their way past their partisanship to forge the practical solution South Dakota’s workers need.