Joe Biden’s $2 Trillion Jobs Plan Endorses ‘YIMBY Grants’
There’s not a lot to please libertarians in President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion American Jobs Plan. But one item might attract some free marketeers’ support: a YIMBY (“yes in my backyard”) grant program that would encourage localities to loosen restrictions on new development.
“Exclusionary zoning laws—like minimum lot sizes, mandatory parking requirements, and prohibitions on multifamily housing—have inflated housing and construction costs,” explains a White House fact sheet. “President Biden is calling on Congress to enact an innovative, new competitive grant program that awards flexible and attractive funding to jurisdictions that take concrete steps to eliminate such needless barriers.”
The idea of bribing localities into allowing more development is not original to the Biden administration. It has been gaining currency with lawmakers of both parties for several years now. Barack Obama’s administration suggested just such a program in 2016. And Donald Trump’s initial proposal for reforming fair housing regulations raised the possibility of giving extra grant money to jurisdictions that became more affordable through deregulation. (In 2020, the Trump administration reversed course and went all-in on a “save the suburbs” campaign message.)
In 2018, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) introduced a housing bill that would have devoted $10 billion to rewarding areas that cut developers’ red tape. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D–Minn.) released a bill this year, co-sponsored by Sen. Rob Portman (R–Ohio), that would create a $300 million a year “YIMBY grant” program.
Article from Latest – Reason.com