ACTION Campaign Update and Call Thursday, May 25, at 2 p.m. EDT

Because of the holiday weekend, this month’s ACTION Campaign call will be on Thursday instead of Friday. Please join us on Thursday, May 25, at 2 p.m. EDT to discuss the latest developments related to the Housing Credit and tax reform.

Call-in information:

Thursday, May 25 @ 2:00 p.m. EDT *note the change in day for this month’s call

1.888.240.2560, participant code 677-495-333# *note the change in call-in information

Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act Gains Bipartisan Co-sponsors

In the past month, two more Senators — Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Patty Murray (D-WA) — have signed onto the Cantwell-Hatch Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 548), bringing the total to 19 co-sponsors. Thirteen more Representatives have also signed onto the Tiberi-Neal House companion legislation (H.R. 1661) in the past month, bringing the total to 43 co-sponsors, which now includes over half of the Ways and Means Committee. The most recent additions are Representatives Suzan DelBene (D-WA-1), Walter Jones (R-NC-3), David Cicilline (D-RI-1), Richard Nolan (D-MN-8), Jacky Rosen (D-NV-3), Kristi Noem (R-SD-at large), Peter Welch (D-VT-at large), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR-1), Anna Eshoo (D-CA-18), Bradley Schneider (D-IL-10), Charlie Crist (D-FL-13), Lynn Jenkins (R-KS-2), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ-9).

Visit the ACTION Campaign’s Advocacy Toolkit for bill summaries, bill text, "Dear Colleague" letters, sample letters to members of Congress requesting co-sponsorship, and more information about the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act.

Administration Releases Tax Reform Proposal with Limited Details

On April 26, the Trump Administration released a one-page proposal outlining its high-level principles for tax reform. A linchpin of the plan is to reduce the corporate tax rate from 35 to 15 percent, consistent with proposals President Trump made during the campaign.

Other corporate tax proposals include a territorial tax system to “level the playing field” for American companies, a one-time repatriation tax on trillions of dollars held overseas and the elimination of tax breaks for unspecified “special interests.” The Administration’s plan does not mention the Housing Credit or Housing Bonds, and it is unclear how many tax credits and deductions will be targeted for repeal under the proposal to “eliminate tax breaks for special interests.” A recent poll from Harvard’s Center for American Political Studies (CAPS) and Harris Insights & Analytics shows that 74 percent of voters are in favor of keeping the Housing Credit in tax reform, giving it the most support of any corporate tax deduction or credit among those polled.

While the release of the President’s tax reform proposal serves as an “opening bid” for what the Administration would like to see in tax reform, the one-page plan leaves many details unaddressed, underscoring how much work remains on developing consensus tax reform legislation. At this time, it is not yet known when the Administration will release a more detailed tax plan.

Administration to Release Budget Proposal

The Administration will release its formal budget proposal tomorrow, which may include Housing Credit policy proposals. The Budget will also provide the Administration’s proposed funding levels for HUD programs, to which we expect it to recommend extensive cuts. The budget will track the “skinny budget,” which the Administration released in March. We expect it to recommend eliminating major housing programs, including the HOME Investment Partnerships program, the Housing Trust Fund, and the Community Development Block Grant program, all of which are used as soft subsidies in Housing Credit developments, to include cuts to other HUD programs like Section 8 and public housing, and to propose policy changes to HUD programs.

House Begins Tax Reform Hearings

The House Ways and Means Committee has begun holding a series of hearings on tax reform, which will continue throughout the spring. The goal of the hearings is to solicit feedback on components of the House’s tax reform proposal as the committee continues the work of turning the tax reform blueprint released last summer into legislation.

A Ways and Means Committee hearing on May 18 titled “How Tax Reform Will Grow Our Economy and Create Jobs Across America” focused on the need for tax reform in order to stimulate economic growth. A hearing on May 23 will address “Increasing U.S Competitiveness and Preventing American Jobs from Moving Overseas,” which will focus on the House’s border adjustment proposal and international taxation.

Reports Highlight Impact of Housing Credit

A new publication from the NYU Furman Center details the Housing Credit as the federal government’s primary financing tool for the construction and preservation of affordable housing. Since 1986, the Housing Credit has generated a host of benefits for local communities, including increased surrounding home values and lower crime rates. The publication also shows that Housing Credit tenants have access to better schools.

Additionally, the AARP Public Policy Institute recently released a report highlighting the importance of Housing Credit properties for the elderly population. The report finds that 30 percent of housing cost-burdened households are ages 62 and older, making the Housing Credit a source of much-needed affordable housing for low-income seniors.

Op-Eds Highlight Need for Housing Credit Expansion

In an op-ed in the Topeka Capital-Journal, Patrick Michaelis, President of the Kansas Housing Association and Vice President of Midwest Housing Equity Group, writes that, “Though Kansas is often thought of as an affordable place to live, stagnating wages have left too many Kansans struggling to afford their homes.” He calls on legislators to support the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, making the case that, “now is the time to strengthen and expand the Housing Credit as a proven tool that improves our economy, bringing affordable homes and critically-needed jobs to communities across Kansas and the country.”

Enterprise Community Partners President and CEO Terri Ludwig advocated for an expansion of the Housing Credit in an op-ed in the Huffington Post earlier this month, touting the program’s strong history as a model public-private partnership that ensures accountability and results. “It is essentially the only tool we have to encourage private investment in affordable housing,” writes Ludwig. “The strong bipartisan support for the Housing Credit in Congress, in the Administration, and across state and local governments is a testament to its thirty-year track record of success.”

LISC President & CEO Maurice Jones and National Equity Fund President & CEO Joe Hagan also wrote in the Huffington Post about the need to ensure that the Housing Credit remains robust and flexible: "It gets rid of blight. It creates jobs. And it gives people a chance for a better way of life."

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