In 2004 the MBIA funded a study conducted by Anirban Basu’s Sage Policy group that concluded “surcharge fees are a bad idea, and new residential housing pays for itself”.
Fifteen years later, it’s making the same false claims even in faced with ample evidence to the contrary as Howard County faces record deficits that are expected to get worse in 2020. The the Baltimore Sun piece from 2005 here.
This year, an group called Center Maryland played a critical role in Baltimore County’s recent impact fee legislation through the help of none other than Anirban Basu.
In fact, some have described the final legislation as completely watered down. The episode demonstrated the continued influence of the county by developers as described here.
No other organization has played a greater role in Howard County’s school overcrowding, lack of affordable housing, and lack of equity than the MBIA. The MBIA advocated vehemently against the APFO legislation in 2018.
In fact, the county’s influential developers funded the highly prejudicial study as described here. At least one of the authors of the 2018 study also participated in the 2019 Urban Analytics study, with so many of its flaws.
Today, certain county politicization and the MBIA are beating the drums of an impending doom and gloom using the flawed 2019 Urban Analytics study.
Before it was even completed, the studies “conclusions” were used to prepare the 2019 spending and affordability report.
Earlier this year, the Chair of the BoE testified on a county bill that would increase waiting periods for new home construction due to overcrowding. This testimony was a clear departure from the Board's previous positions on the need to control growth better.
The Chairwoman cited a highly slanted report that did not perform a clear cost/benefit analysis of residential development to cast doubt on adequate public facilities ordinance (APFO), including this bill that would extend waiting periods.
The Board has since clarified further its position, indicating that at least some do not agree with the testimony and it did not represent every member’s view.
Unfortunately, the tendency by some members of the Board to get tangled up in these issues continues. On September 10, Center Maryland and MBIA will host a “conference” on educational equity and housing affordability.
One of their speakers is a BoE Board Member. Why are Howard County policy-makers consorting with organizations that push the Developer’s agenda?
Center Maryland is an organization primarily aligned with Maryland Democratic Party causes. It is affiliated with many entrenched members of the party in Howard County and it uses this influence to peddle policies on behalf of developers.
Many Democratic politicians were elected using hollow rhetoric on equity. Politicians tend to use these benevolent ideas to rally voters and it appears its a tactic employed by developers as well.