The state treasurer’s recommendations for the Maine State Housing Authority in the Jan. 6 newspaper are penny wise and pound foolish. The benefits of his approach would accrue to developers, foreign oil companies and politicians, while the costs would go to taxpayers and to those in need of housing.

* “That MSHA create financial incentives for developers to lower the cost per apartment.”

Enticing developers to cut corners will lead to greater long-term costs for the public.

As state treasurer first and as a private developer second, Bruce Poliquin should defend the existing competitive bidding process.

* “That MSHA continue the board-initiated elimination of expensive and unnecessary building standards, like solar hot water heaters.”

Solar hot water is highly cost-effective, saving money while also reducing Maine’s dependence on oil.

MSHA should be increasing its savings and energy initiatives, not reducing them.

* “That MSHA explore non-traditional strategies to provide the most cost efficient low-income housing.”

MSHA already has explored and realized many long-term savings initiatives.

If Poliquin has ideas other than the two mentioned above, he should bring them to his next MSHA board meeting.

* “That MSHA require the executive director to report to the board, as is done at every other quasi-independent authority.”

The director’s independence from a politically appointed board sends a signal to Wall Street and bond rating agencies that Maine keeps politics out of its banking, loaning and underwriting decisions.

In short, Maine can do better by preserving the integrity of its current approach to affordable housing.

Rep. Seth Berry


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