Leach said when he started as a state elected official, he found that much of his time was consumed by evaluating individual real estate deals within his district.

“After this happened a number of times, I took the position, members, that I was going to remain completely neutral on any housing tax credit projects in my district,” Leach told the House Urban Affairs Committee at a hearing Tuesday. “I quickly learned that my neutral position meant that no housing tax credit projects would be built in my district.”

The Plano legislator said he would like to return the decision making power back to the locals.

Many have argued that state representatives, who can represent large swathes of land, sometimes multiple counties and often more than tens of thousands of people, are not equipped to make decisions about projects specific to one community.

Especially in unincorporated areas, like the ones surrounding Harris County such as Cypress and Tomball, this issue has been a prominent topic within Texas House of Representative races.

For example, in the race for House District 130, state Rep. Tom Oliverson, R-Cypress, defeated his Republican primary challenger Kay Smith. In her campaign, Smith declared she would use her position to prevent affordable housing projects from being built in the area.

“The state representative is the only person that can represent their constituents and prevent a development from coming into the area,” Smith said in an interview with Community Impact in November.

Oliverson, who won the election, said he would oppose legislation such as Leach’s bill to take away House input.

“Not on my watch,” he said. “We are much more in a position [than the Senate]to make a decision on a project— yay or nay.”

Leach’s bill was left pending in committee but is co-authored by the Committee’s Chairwoman, state Rep. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston. Leach is the committee vice chair.

Other bills on the same topic include:

  • House Bill 885, filed by state Rep. Ken King, R-Canadian. The bill would add Senate input back into the process. King said he wishes he could eliminate all state influence, but absent that, he would like to revive Senate input.
  • House Bill 1609, filed by state Rep. Four Price, R-Amarillo. The bill would provide stipulations for when a state representative can provide input. The bill limits state input only to when the representative’s district contains a portion of a county with a population of more than 450,000.

Read more here: https://communityimpact.com/austin/at-the-capitol/2017/03/15/states-affordable-housing-debacle-say-projects-get-built-texas/