Massachusetts Article

Editorial: State Needs to Stay Out of Return to Rent Control Regulations

Editorial: State Needs to Stay Out of Return to Rent Control Regulations

The Boston Herald Editorial Board outlines why rent control is wrong for Massachusetts.

Imagine you’re a small business owner — which essentially is the case for many property owners — and government decides how much you can charge for services and products. Most of us would rather pay $4.99 for a juicy filet mignon. That’s not realistic, nor does it make sense. Restaurant owners forced to limit their prices based on a government calculus will soon be former restaurant owners.

Gov. Charlie Baker has said that rent control is a bad idea, and we agree. Government’s role in the high cost of housing is not to place restrictions on business owners, but this is typical of a lot of government thinking — to rant about a problem, then throw taxpayer money at it without actually devising a solution. If the government wants to address the high cost of housing, instead take that money and build public housing. That’s been happening for years.

In Cambridge, according to a report from the National Bureau of Economic Research, the end of rent control lifted the value of that city’s housing stock by $1.8 billion.

What happened next? Builders aren’t dumb: They got to building. There was money to be made.

That’s called the free market, and it works. The market decides. Many of us would love to live in a Back Bay brownstone, but can’t afford it. This isn’t complicated. 

Our recommendation: Do not expect a filet priced at $4.99, do not force businesses to pursue unprofitable investments, and do not let the State House artificially restrict the price of anything.

Read more here.


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