Outreach Needed: House Wraps Up Tax Reform Mark-Up, Senate Poised to Unveil Tax Reform Bill

The House Ways and Means Committee is completing consideration of the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, H.R. 1" while the Senate prepares to release its own tax reform bill this week. Now is an absolutely critical time for the ACTION Campaign to weigh in with members of Congress to save multifamily Housing Bonds and the Housing Credit production that those bonds make possible. While we continue to try to pursue changes to the House bill before it goes to the floor for a vote, we must influence the Senate bill today before its expected release tomorrow.

Just as the House has moved quickly on tax reform in recent weeks, the Senate will also follow an aggressive timeline, with the goal of advancing tax reform legislation through both chambers before Thanksgiving. Weighing in now is critical — see below for more details, specific action items and advocacy tools.

Senate Tax Reform Bill

The Senate Finance Committee is expected to release its own tax reform legislation after the House concludes its mark-up, which could come as soon as tomorrow. Significant differences between the House and Senate bills are expected, and we are working to ensure the Senate’s bill will retain Private Activity Bonds, and in particular, multifamily Housing Bonds. Housing Bonds are responsible for roughly half of Housing Credit production because they trigger the 4 percent Credit. Without these bonds, the 4 percent Credit program would be effectively eliminated. Outreach today is absolutely vital.

Action needed: Educate Senators about the connection between multifamily Housing Bonds and the Housing Credit, and the devastating impact of the House’s bill on affordable housing. Ask Senators to convey their support to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for 1) retaining the Housing Credit and Housing Bonds, and 2) making other adjustments to the Housing Credit to offset the impact of a lower corporate rate.

House Tax Reform Bill

The House Ways and Means Committee has been marking up the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” this week, and intends to finalize the legislation and send it to the House floor for an anticipated vote next week. This bill would have devastating impacts on affordable housing production nationwide — the proposed elimination of Private Activity Bonds and the reduction in the corporate tax rate without modifications to sustain Housing Credit production would reduce the future supply of affordable rental housing by nearly one million units, according to Novogradac & Co.

There has been no indication that the Committee intends to make substantive changes that impact affordable housing during the mark-up, either to restore the tax exemption on multifamily Housing Bonds or to include modifications to sustain the Housing Credit’s production potential under a reduced corporate tax rate. However, these types of changes to the bill may be made before it goes to the House floor for a vote.

Action needed: Reach out to House Republicans, both on and off the Ways and Means Committee, asking that they reach out to Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) to urge them to 1) preserve Housing Bonds, and 2) make other adjustments to the Housing Credit to offset the impact of a lower corporate tax rate. Ask them to at least publicly voice their concern about the impact of eliminating Private Activity Bonds, either as part of the Committee mark-up for members on the Ways and Means Committee, or in the press.

Advocacy Materials

New resources have been added to the Advocacy Toolkit on the ACTION Campaign website to assist in your outreach efforts. These include:

Visit the ACTION Campaign website for more information and advocacy materials.

If you have any questions, please contact Emily Cadik, Director, Public Policy, Enterprise Community Partners, at ecadik or 202-403-8015, or Jennifer Schwartz, Assistant Director for Tax Policy and Advocacy, National Council of State Housing Agencies, at jschwartz or 202-624-7758.

In addition to the resources above, the Coalition has some postcards remaining from our advocacy efforts in May. We’d be happy to supply your organization with some of these. Contact Danna Fowble or Andrea Frymire.

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