Housing task force leaders praise DiMasi, Travaglini for support of 40S legislation

October 25, 2005

Boston – Members of the Commonwealth Housing Task Force, a coalition of regional leaders convened by the Boston Foundation, today praised Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi for endorsing legislation known as 40S to insure that communities building “Smart Growth” housing will be compensated for the added cost of educating children who live in this housing.

Speaking at the annual dinner of the Citizen’s Housing and Planning Association last night, DiMasi endorsed the measure and said that he is urging the entire House membership to pass the bill before the end of the legislative session on November 16. He said he joins Senate President Robert E. Travaglini, who moved for quick passage of the measure in the Senate earlier this fall.

“A lack of affordable housing is a critical issue for the Commonwealth,” said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation, the convener of the Task Force. “And a meaningful solution requires broad consensus and strong leadership. Speaker DiMasi and Senate President Travaglini have stepped up to the plate and made it possible for this legislation to pass. This moves us toward a solution to the affordable housing crisis that will serve employers, state residents and the towns they live in.”

The 40S legislation follows Chapter 40R, which was passed by the legislature in June of 2004. That statute was rooted in a report issued by the Commonwealth Housing Task Force, and enabled communities to zone for multifamily and single-family housing on small lots and in town centers, close to transportation networks, and provided them incentives to do so. The plan earned wide support as an effective way to increase the supply of affordable housing while combating the suburban sprawl that threatens both the regional environment and the integrity of the New England landscape.

“We were told in the spring that the House would seriously consider this issue,” said Larry DiCara, a partner at the law firm of Nixon Peabody, LLC, and a co-Chair of the Commonwealth Housing Task Force. “They delivered on that promise and it's now on the House floor. We trust it will be on the Governor's desk on Nov. 16. Sal DiMasi understands that housing is an important issue for all of us who care about the future of Massachusetts. The Task Force is very appreciative of his support of 40S.”

The new legislation was a response to the concern in many communities that new housing—especially housing aimed at young families—represented a potential economic strain. Because of the tax cap, some town leaders feared that new development would add to the local school budget beyond the amount contributed in the form of property taxes. In response, 40S was developed as a targeted response that would cover any net education costs that accrued from children living in Smart Growth housing.

The goal of insuring towns against this added cost was a key recommendation of the Commonwealth Housing Task Force in its recent report, School Cost Analysis and Proposed Smart Growth Cost Insurance Supplement, published by the Boston Foundation with research by the Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University.

“The passage of 40s is critically important to the implantation of 40R and mitigation of high housing prices throughout the state,” said Eleanor White, President of Housing Partners, Inc., and a co-chair of the Task Force. “We are impressed by the leadership offered by the Senate President and the Speaker of the House in expediting consideration of this important legislation.”

More information on 40R and 40S is available at the Boston Foundation website, at www.tbf.org . For more information about the Commonwealth Housing Task Force, see the Task Force website. 




The Boston Foundation, one of the nation’s oldest and largest community foundations, has an endowment of almost $690 million.  In 2004, the Foundation made over $63 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, and received gifts of almost $54 million. The Boston Foundation is made up of 750 separate charitable funds, which have been established by donors either for the general benefit of the community or for special purposes. The Boston Foundation also serves as a civic leader, convener, and sponsor of special initiatives designed to build community. For more information about the Boston Foundation and its grant making, visit www.tbf.org , or call 617-338-1700.

The Commonwealth Housing Task Force is an unprecedented coalition of leaders convened by the Boston Foundation that has been meeting regularly since 2002 to address the state’s housing crisis. Members include business and civic leaders, affordable housing advocates, the environmental community, organized labor, real estate developers, elected and appointed officials at both state and local levels, and representatives of higher education. The task Force is led by four co-chairs: Jerry Rappaport Jr., President of the New Boston Fund; Bob Smyth, President of Citizens Bank of Massachusetts; Larry DiCara, Partner at the law firm of Nixon Peabody, LLC; and Eleanor White, President of Housing Partners, Inc.