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Letter: Housing should be top priority for Congress

Whether Munter, Schultz, Welty, or Stauber wins the 8th District Congressional race, the winner should focus on housing. The home mortgage tax exemption has been the great engine of Middle Class prosperity for the past 70 years. I suggest these initiatives for increasing the housing stock:

1. Push for HUD, the Department of Housing and Urban Development to grant no-money-down first-time-buyer mortgages like the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides in rural cities and towns for those with good credit scores. This will balance the scourge of corporations recently buying up homes for rental property which is becoming an issue in the Twin Cities even.

2. Reduce or eliminate the 17.99% tariff on Canadian lumber imports to reduce home-building costs.

3. Push for the reduction by half of Interstate 35 in Duluth which is overbuilt when its rebuild comes due for senior and affordable housing by the Lake for bike, bus, and walking shopping.

4. Work for the reinstatement of the Minnesota Historic Tax Credit, which also works to increase the housing stock in historic buildings like old Central High School and the old jail on West Second Street.

5. Expand federal and state weatherization programs that help make home ownership affordable.

6. Pass tax credits for local producers of solar panels.

7. Seek funding from the Department of Energy for local solar panel production and business expansion as well as for solar installations in under-served areas.

8. Support broadband expansion as quickly as possible.

9. Support expansion of

vo-tech schooling.

10. Support the promotion of less expensive modular housing with tax credits.

11. Oppose the Fed’s interest rate hikes making home mortgages less affordable.

John Munter,


Editor’s note: Letter writer John Munter sent this letter after the Pine Knot went to press last week, but before the primary election Tuesday. Munter was defeated Tuesday in the U.S. Representative District 8 DFL primary by Jen Schulz, who will face Republican incumbent Pete Stauber in November.