Senators Wyden and Cantwell Introduce Legislation Paralleling Housing Credit Provisions in House Infrastructure Bill

Yesterday, Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) introduced standalone Senate companion legislation to the Housing Credit provisions included in the Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2), the infrastructure legislation released in the House earlier this week. The bill, the Emergency Affordable Housing Act of 2020, does not have a bill number at this time; however, the bill text, a one-page summary, and a more detailed summary are all available.

Like the Moving Forward Act, the Emergency Affordable Housing Act of 2020 would:

  • permanently increase the annual Housing Credit authority from $2.81 per capita to $4.56 per capita, and increase the small state minimum from $3,217,500 to $5,214,051, both phased in over two years;
  • set a permanent minimum 4 percent rate for tax-exempt bond-financed properties;
  • lower the “financed-by” threshold for tax-exempt bond financing necessary to trigger the 4 percent Credit from 50 percent to 25 percent;
  • establish new 30 percent basis boosts for properties in rural and Indian areas and for bond-financed properties for which the state agency determines a basis boost is needed for financial feasibility;
  • establish a new 50 percent basis boost for properties in which at least 20 percent of the units are reserved for and affordable to extremely low-income (ELI) households (the basis boost would be available proportionally based on the percent of ELI units in the property);
  • provide states an increase of 10 percent above their annual Housing Credit ceiling to finance properties receiving the aforementioned ELI basis boost;
  • temporarily extend the 10 percent test and placed-in-service deadlines by 12 months, applicable to properties that receive an allocation of Credits between December 31, 2016, and January 1, 2022;
  • temporarily extend the rehabilitation expenditure deadline by 12 months, applicable to properties that receive an allocation of Credits between December 31, 2016, and January 1, 2022;
  • repeal the “Qualified Contract” provision in the tax code that allows owners to terminate the affordability restrictions on a property before the end of the property’s extended use period for properties that receive an allocation of Credits after January 1, 2020; and for existing properties, modify the Qualified Contract price to base it on fair market value as restricted;
  • prohibit requirements for local approval or local contributions as a condition of receiving Credits and remove the requirement that state agencies notify the local elected officials in areas in which a proposed building would be located;
  • establish a taxpayer election to receive an accelerated 150 percent first-year credit to offset delays resulting from the COVID-19 crisis;
  • create a new 25 percent tax credit for contributions to a qualified, supportive housing reserve fund for Housing Credit properties.

Many of the bill’s provisions are NCSHA legislative priorities, included in either the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act or the Save Affordable Housing Act. Others are priorities NCSHA has adopted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. NCSHA worked closely with Senator Wyden’s and Senator Cantwell’s staffs and with their counterparts on the House Ways and Means Committee on crafting the legislation.

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