Center to Testify Against Bill to Create a pro RhodeMapRI ‘Rigged’ Affordable Housing Commission; Will Challenge Discrimination Charge in Language


April 7, 2016
H 7989’s Misleading and Provocative Language Would Create Affordable Housing Commission Rigged with Biased Members

Providence, RI — The Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity today raises objections about a House bill that would create a commission, rigged to advance a federal agenda and the 2014 RhodeMap RI plan, and will suggest that the Center itself should be allowed to appoint commission members.

A hearing on H 7989 is scheduled for today at the rise at the House Committee on Municipal Government in room 101. The Center’s CEO, Mike Stenhouse, plans to testify to two major points:

First, the bill would create a 13-member commission to look into the perceived lack of affordable housing in various Rhode Island municipalities. However, similar to the planning commission that passed the controversial RhodeMap RI plan in 2014, the bill stacks the commission almost exclusively with advocates who believe in imposing even more centrally-planned mandates on cities and towns. Given that one such advocate, the nonprofit Grow Smart RI, is specifically designated to appoint a commission member … the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity, also a nonprofit, suggests out of fairness, that it should also be designated to appoint pro property rights, pro taxpayer commission members.

Second, the Center objects to the misleading basis and inflammatory language in the bill. The bill states that multiple localities are not meeting and have disregarded their required “state-mandated” affordable housing “thresholds”; the Center does not believe that such mandates exist in state law. The bill language further states that “institutional” and “discriminatory actions” that limit home ownership must be addressed. The Center calls on the sponsors of the bill to provide direct evidence of such provocative accusations, or withdraw the language.

The Center does not oppose the concept of forming a commission on this controversial topic and welcomes the opportunity for a public debate. However, the Center also believes that the commission should be fairly constituted and should be based on accurate and tempered language.

This hearing is just one day after the release of a report from HousingWorksRI at Roger Williams University, which claims that more affordable housing is required in the state. Conversely, the Center maintains that home ownership levels may be down because of a depressed jobs and income economy.

Media Contact:
Mike Stenhouse, CEO
401.429.6115 |

About the Center
The nonpartisan RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is Rhode Island’s premiere free-enterprise research and advocacy organization. The nonprofit Center is funded entirely by private tax-deductible donations and never accepts public funding. The mission of the 501-C-3 organization is to return government to the people by opposing special-interest politics and advancing proven free-market solutions that can transform lives by restoring economic competitiveness, increasing educational opportunities, and protecting individual freedoms.

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