Gubernatorial Candidate Issues Housing Plan

Tom Sherman, the Rye doctor and state senator running as a Democrat in this fall’s gubernatorial election, said the state needs to cut down on regulations, create a model zoning code that enables more development at “community-scale” densities and spend millions more on funding new housing.

The proposals are some of the many included in a plan he released in mid-July aimed at creating more housing to keep record-low rental vacancy rates and record-high home prices from throttling the state economy.

In a virtual press conference announcing the plan, Sherman said Gov. Chris Sununu’s attempts to boost housing production have amounted to “Band-aids.” The governor has seen the current House of Representatives dramatically scale back some of his more ambitious efforts, although the Republican was able to win support for using $100 million of the state’s one-time federal COVID relief dollars to invest in housing production incentives and measure.

The largest price tags in Sherman’s plan are a $10 million annual increase in the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority’s $5 million tax credit program and a $5 million boost in the state’s $5 million annual contribution to the state’s Affordable Housing Fund. Both programs help finance housing development.

Other notable plan elements include doubling funding for a job training program for tradespeople, encouraging high schools and community colleges to sign on to workforce training programs, create a $500,000 annual grant program and model zoning code to help towns modernize land-use regulations, have state officials hunt for regulatory hurdles to take down and create a revolving loan fund for municipal water, sewer and transit projects to accommodate more housing.