NTU Endorses Bipartisan Bill to Tackle Government Barriers to Building Affordable Housing

View Senate Letter as PDF

View House Letter as PDF

National Taxpayers Union (NTU) submitted a letter thanking Sens. Todd Young (R-IN) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) for reintroducing the Yes In My Backyard (YIMBY) Act. NTU submitted a similar letter to Reps. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN) for introducing companion legislation in the House. The legislation, would encourage local governments to make changes to zoning laws and other barriers that inhibit the construction of affordable housing units.

Read the letter text below.

Letter Text

The Honorable Todd Young
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
The Honorable Brian Schatz
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Senators Young and Schatz,
On behalf of the National Taxpayers Union, the nation’s oldest taxpayer advocacy organization, I write to express our strong support for S. 1614, the Yes in My Backyard (YIMBY) Act of 2021. Your bipartisan legislation is a much-needed step towards eliminating discriminatory local land-use policies that needlessly prevent the construction of affordable housing. Importantly, this proposal would help reduce construction costs and build more units - without adding more burdens on taxpayers and the federal government. We are proud to endorse the bipartisan YIMBY Act and we urge all Senators to cosponsor and support this legislation.
Access to affordable housing is an immediate, everyday concern for millions of Americans nationwide, particularly for those who choose to live in densely populated urban areas. According to research by Up for Growth, the United States has underproduced housing by 7.3 million homes between 2000 and 2015. This limited supply, coupled with robust consumer demand, has put upward pressure on housing prices and made it more difficult for people to afford housing. zoning restrictions, exorbitant building fees, environmental laws, density limitations, and stringent building codes are the main contributors to the high cost of housing construction.
Thankfully, your legislation is a win for everyone, including taxpayers, builders, and renters, by bringing changes to local land use policies. Under the YIMBY Act, local governments receiving taxpayer-funded federal housing dollars funds through the Community Development Block Grant program would need to report whether they have enacted policies to reduce regulations that affect affordable housing supply. At its core, the YIMBY Act is a good government and housing bill, offering transparency on exclusionary policies and ultimately encouraging localities to eliminate barriers to much-needed housing.
This bill also protects taxpayers by not authorizing new federal funding, but rather incentivizing localities to maximize every dollar spent. In many cases, Washington attempts to solve a nationwide problem by throwing more money at the problem, hoping a flood of taxpayer funds will work it out. The YIMBY Act breaks that trend and instead focuses on maximizing dollars already allocated, not wasting more limited taxpayer resources. By encouraging reforms to land-use policies, it will unleash the power of the free market to bring more housing units online faster and cheaper, which will eventually benefit renters through lower housing prices. We look forward to helping you enact this legislation.
Thomas Aiello
Director of Federal Affairs