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Md. gubernatorial hopeful Brown calls for major increase in affordable housing program

Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown. (Photo by Astrid Riecken For The Washington Post)

Maryland Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Anthony G. Brown (D) on Monday proposed a more than 10-fold increase in annual funding for a state-run affordable housing grant program, part of a larger plan he said seeks to “ensure that every Marylander has a place to call home.”

Brown, the state’s lieutenant governor, said he would earmark $20 million a year for the Maryland Affordable Housing Trust, a program that provides capital funding for new housing developments, among other aims.

Since its inception in 1992, annual funding for the program has averaged less than $2 million, Brown said. He is proposing steering a portion of the state’s corporate income tax collections to the fund each year to significantly bolster the fund.

Brown said he would also lift a $150,000 cap on money available through the fund for individual projects to better leverage state dollars.

As part of his seven-point plan, Brown also proposed spending $2.5 million a year on a revolving loan fund that would provide incentives to create affordable housing around Metro stops and other transit-oriented development. That initiative is modeled on a program in Denver.

And Brown called for the creation of a Statewide Affordable Housing Plan to guide the state’s future efforts in that area, as well as spending additional money on the state housing department to hire more personnel and streamline its approval processes.

Brown said his proposals would be paid for in part by expansion of a program that allows state employees to make suggestions for cost savings in government.

Brown faces Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and Del. Heather R. Mizeur (Montgomery) in the June Democratic primary.

John Wagner is a political reporter covering the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.



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